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You’ve seen the flashing lights – you’ve heard the sirens, but deciding what to do when an emergency vehicle is approaching from any direction can be a dilemma.

Here are some tips that will help you stay calm and safe and help our emergency vehicles get to their destination without delay.

  • Look and listen
    Check your mirrors regularly and make sure your music is not too loud.

  • Consider the route and size of the vehicle
    You may need to move over even if the emergency vehicle is traveling in the opposite direction.

  • Signal your intentions using your indicators
    This will help the emergency vehicle and other road users know what action you are taking.

  • Pull in or move over safely
    You may not need to stop completely.

  • Don’t stop opposite any obstructions
    This will make the road narrower.

  • Avoid mounting kerbs/pavements where possible
    Be aware of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists.

  • Signal when you are pulling away
    Motorists behind you may still be moving, be careful when rejoining the road.

  • Stay alert
    More emergency vehicles may be on the way.

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There is more guidance available in The Highway Code, the extract below refers directly to emergency vehicles.

Emergency and Incident Support vehicles. You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights. When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road. Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.

The Highway Code (Section 219)
Offical updated online version from

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