Advice on what to do as a motorist if you encounter an ambulance
Our teams are trained in the best ways to safely pass other motorists when driving under emergency conditions (on blue lights and sirens).
Please try not to panic if an emergency vehicle approaches you – but remember these key tips.
If an ambulance or ambulance car comes up behind you with blue lights and sirens, please pull in over to the left if there is a safe space to do so – so it can pass you.
If there is no safe place for you to pull into, rather than immediately stopping, it is better to continue as you were at a safe speed until there is a safe place to pull in or until the ambulance vehicle can safely overtake.
Please avoid pulling into bus lanes or cycle lanes. The ambulance crew are trained to negotiate traffic and may look to use the bus lane to pass, and you could get in their way or even get a ticket.
Do not go through a red light to try to get out of the way as you may commit an offence. If it is safe to pass the ambulance will do so.
If it is not, they will wait until there is a space to pass in a safe manner. If the lane is wide enough and there’s room for the vehicle to pass you, try to move to the left, but without going forward over the white line or into a cycle lane.
On a dual carriageway or motorway, the best thing to do is to move to the left if the traffic is moving, when it’s safe to change lanes. Do not stop in the right-hand lane.
If the traffic is stationary try to consider the path of the emergency vehicle and allow the vehicle to drive down the centre of the traffic.
Our crews will do everything they can to not obstruct other vehicles when parking on arrival at an emergency. However, their priority is to reach the patient as quickly as they can.
Please do not block in an ambulance vehicle as this will likely delay them either taking a patient to hospital or responding to another emergency call.
Please do not park too close to the rear of an ambulance. To safely bring some patients into the ambulance, the crews may need to operate the tail lift at the rear of the vehicle, and this may not be possible if another vehicle is parked too close.