Driver Tips

Don’t take risks or break the law when helping emergency vehicles, says GEM

posted on 16/06/2022

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging all road users to be ‘Blue Light Aware’, and to stay safe and legal when helping emergency services vehicles.

The call comes as councils across England and Wales begin making use of new powers to charge drivers for traffic offences such as driving into bus lanes or not stopping at red traffic lights.

GEM’s line-up of short video animations outlines the best course of action for drivers to take when they encounter an emergency vehicle. 

GEM chief executive Neil Worth says: “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. That’s because we must all follow the rules of the road, even when giving way to an emergency vehicle.

“Blue light drivers have certain privileges, but the rest of us do not. So if we drive through a red traffic light or into a bus lane to make space for an ambulance, we risk a substantial fine, even if we were simply trying to help.

Emergency drivers appreciate the assistance we provide when it’s safe and legal, but they do not expect anyone to put themselves or others in danger – or on the wrong side of the law, according to GEM.

“The line-up of short videos will show how we can help at junctions and roundabouts, on motorways and on stretches of road where overtaking is not permitted,” concludes Neil Worth.

“So do set aside a few minutes to understand the best ways you can help when there’s an emergency vehicle trying to get through. Not only will you be better placed to stay legal and safe, you’ll be doing your bit to help when someone’s life could depend on it.”

GEM offers five simple tips to promote safety for drivers and emergency vehicles:

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.

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

Don’t make judgements 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.

For more information, please visit 

Follow GEM on Twitter @MotoringAssist for the latest industry news.

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