Sharing the road with emergency vehicles

 

While the roads should be emptier during lockdown, emergency vehicles responding to cases that may be related to COVID-19 may still encounter drivers in their way on the roads. South African drivers have gained notoriety for not showing the courtesy and respect that emergency vehicles need. If you are out buying essential goods, this is what to do in this situation:

 

  • Do not panic when you hear sirens.
  • Do not stop abruptly or move out of the way recklessly, endangering yourself or other road users.
  • Determine where the emergency vehicle is coming from before making your decision about where to move. Carefully assess the situation before making an impulsive move.
  • If there is space in the yellow lane, don’t move into this as it’s meant for emergency vehicles.
  • Never skip a red light or stop sign to make way either.
  • Don’t immediately move back into your position in case another emergency vehicle is following behind.
  • Under no circumstances should you refuse to move out of the way. Not only could you be threatening someone’s life but you are increasing the time it takes to reach patients.
  • Never follow behind an emergency vehicle that passes you. If they suddenly stop, as is likely, you are unlikely to avoid a collision.

 

South Africa, like many other countries around the world has seen a reduction in the number of crashes on the roads. It is, however, important to still educate yourself about how to react when you see red and blue lights because emergency service workers are still under great pressure during this time. Ensure you are neither the reason an ambulance does not arrive on time or become the one in need of an emergency vehicle.

 

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