Driving law means drivers face £1,000 fine for letting ambulance past

Fake ambulance driver fined for turning on blue lights to avoid traffic

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When on the road, an ambulance or another emergency vehicle can use its sirens to cut through traffic and make it to an incident. However, drivers are being warned that they could face fines of £1,000 for letting an ambulance to pass.

Rule 219 of the Highway Code states: “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.”

It adds that drivers should not panic when one approaches and to consider the route of such a vehicle and take action to let it pass.

This should be done while complying with all traffic signs around them.

If necessary, motorists should 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. 

They should also ensure they do not endanger themselves, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. 

When approaching a junction or roundabout, do not break harshly, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as the driver in front.

Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, spoke about the rule and drivers can safely deal with the situation.

He said: “Although it comes with good intentions, driving, breaking, or manoeuvring dangerously to let an ambulance pass can be a great safety risk. 

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“Hearing a siren or seeing flashing lights can cause you to react quickly, but try not to panic.

“It’s important to move aside for an emergency vehicle, but try to be mindful of traffic signs and comply with the Highway Code when doing so. 

“This includes driving through a red light or stopping in a bus lane. 

“Not only is breaking the Highway Code a safety risk, it could also cost you £1,000 in fines.

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“It’s not always clear what drivers are expected to do in these circumstances.”

The RAC urges drivers keep driving until there is a suitable place to pull over and use “common sense” to avoid coming into conflict with other road users.

They added that a lack of awareness of the correct driving rules when allowing emergency services to pass could result in dangerous incidents and block people from the urgent help they need.

In May, a nurse in Derby was fined £30 for pulling into a bus lane to let an ambulance through.

Gwen Bednall said she saw an ambulance approaching from behind with its sirens on heading towards the city centre.

Gwen moved into the bus lane as she approached a set of traffic lights but saw the lane was blocked after the bus lane ended, with cars wanting to turn left.

As she saw no buses were coming, she moved into the last few metres of the bus lane to leave the right-hand lane free.

She was left shocked when her actions led her to receive a £30 fine for the incident.

The driver, who has worked at the Royal Derby Hospital for 20 years, called the fine “ridiculous”, saying she would do it again for any emergency vehicle.

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