Blog: Don’t panic just be Blue Light Aware

All road users are being urged to be Blue Light Aware to help emergency services vehicles.

All road users are being urged to be Blue Light Aware to help emergency services vehicles. - Credit: GEM Motoring Assist

The ambulance was approaching fast from the opposite direction but, with blue lights flashing, it was clearly visible which gave cars plenty of time to move to the nearside of their respective lanes to give it a clear run up the middle of the road.

Once the ambulance had passed we all prepared to go on our way again but suddenly I was confronted by a little car half on my side of the road, overtaking the line of cars in the opposite lane that had pulled over to let the ambulance through.

I slammed on the brakes, pulled back into the kerb and he just sailed past, clearing me by inches, completely oblivious of everthing going on around him.

Once on our way again – safely this time – my passenger, a fellow motoring writer, started debating the best course of action for motorists when confronted by an emergency vehicle on a 999 call – not that it would have helped prevent that dozy driver nearly causing another accident. You can't break the speed limit or go through red lights but do you just pull over or carry on until you can find somewhere to get off the road completely.

So it was quite fortuitous this week that GEM Motoring Assist came to our aid with some advice of what road-users should do when they see a blue light.

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The road safety and breakdown organisation is encouraging all road users to be Blue Light Aware, and to assist emergency services vehicles when required. GEM's short video outlines the best course of action for drivers to take when they encounter an emergency vehicle.

Here are its five simple tips to promote safety for drivers and emergency vehicles:

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Stay safe and legal. No one expects you to put yourself at risk or break the law in an attempt to help an emergency vehicle.

Remain calm and observant. The earlier you spot an emergency vehicle, the more time you have to plan.

Don't make judgments on which emergency vehicles deserve your help and which ones don't. Aim for a consistently thoughtful and courteous attitude that puts safety first in every situation.

If you slow down or stop, don't move off or accelerate until the emergency vehicle has passed completely.

There may be more than one emergency vehicle coming, so listen for different sirens, and look all round before moving off.

GEM chief executive David Williams said: 'We all want to help emergency service drivers, and most of the time it's just a simple case of pulling over to let them past. But we need to ensure that anything we do as drivers is safe and legal.

'We occasionally experience difficulties because we don't know what's expected of us. There is the risk that we could be putting ourselves or others in danger – or on the wrong side of the law.

'Our video includes details of how we can help at junctions, on motorways and on stretches of road where overtaking is not permitted. It was produced in partnership with fire, police and ambulance services across the UK. It is regularly reviewed by experts to ensure it still represents good practice. The latest review has just been completed and all its advice remains correct.'

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