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Ambulances - Getting out of their way

(29 Posts)
TerriBull Tue 09-May-17 13:55:45

So....I live on the edge of a large town, on the edge of London which has a large hospital. Hence we have a lot of ambulances tearing along with sirens going. I admit to being a bit jittery as far as getting out of their way. Yesterday I was coming back from babysitting the other side of town descending a hill when one came up right behind me, so I mounted the pavement, as others in front of me did, I didn't do it very well steep kirb and scraped my tyers a little bit. I was relating this to husband, he said "well mounting the kirb is illegal", "yes I know" says I "but needs must and anyway there weren't any pedestrians on the pavement so I didn't kill anyone" he's always telling me not to panic as ambulance drivers are experienced and used to sorting out a clear passage, in my mind I'm thinking, "this could be life and death, every second counts". What is the correct protocol in these situations, for example one woman I read about entered the "forbidden bus lane" and subsequently got a ticket, surely doing that would have been excusable in such circumstance. What do you do or what would you do?

Charleygirl Tue 09-May-17 14:03:39

I stop where I can safely, indicating that I have stopped and let the ambulance or police car fly past. I would never mount the pavement or enter a bus lane as both are illegal. This happens to me a lot because I live not far from a police station and there is one of those "forbidden" bus lanes outside it- others have entered that lane, I never would and I also would never jump through a red traffic light. It is up to the ambulance or police to do the illegal manoevres, (sp) not me.

TerriBull Tue 09-May-17 14:14:46

Charleygirl, interesting you sound like my husband. We have so many, it's almost inevitable when entering the one way system that somewhere along the line there will be one trying to weave a passage along, and yes I have seen drivers jump a red light to let one through.

Ana Tue 09-May-17 14:23:59

I just pull over as best I can, but would never mount a kerb or use a bus lane - as Charleygirl says, the Ambulance driver will be well used to weaving his/her way through traffic safely.

TerriBull Tue 09-May-17 14:28:25

ooops kerb not kirb. Glad I asked hmm I think need to rethink my kerb mounting and calm down.

Charleygirl Tue 09-May-17 15:04:56

Terribull you should know by now that your husband and myself are never wrong!

TerriBull Tue 09-May-17 16:48:40

Charleygirl - how true! grin

chocolatepudding Tue 09-May-17 23:08:25

As part of my training as a first responder I spent a day with an ambulance crew and we dashed to seven emergencies. I was surprised at the way everyone moved out of the way to let the ambulance through. Container lorries pulled onto grass verges and drivers just pulled to the left even in the heavy traffic. I think the crews spend several weeks just learning how to drive the ambulances. I always indicate left, pull over and keep my foot on the brake until the ambulance has passed.

Hopehope Wed 10-May-17 00:02:19

I am safe now I only have my shopping Trolley smile, come to think of it so is everyone else lol

Janetblogs Wed 10-May-17 06:47:37

The main thing is not to panic - in London you will notice that emergency vehicles make a beeline for black cabs as they know the drivers are professionals and will clear a path - out of London just be aware pull into the kerb signal clearly or pull forward a little without going through a red light - you are right it could be life or death and they are trained but you have to give them some help - above all don't panic

Grannyknot Wed 10-May-17 07:59:13

terribull I live in London sort of in the middle between two big hospitals and have the same problem and also get jittery. I don't think about the life or death situation they are rushing to blush, I'm always worried they will crash into someone on the way! And don't get me started on police cars ... shock

Like others, I indicate and squeeze in where I can. Sometimes it takes a while for the penny to drop that they are upon me!

TerriBull Wed 10-May-17 16:34:12

Grannyknot, not just me then smile

Lewlew Wed 10-May-17 18:27:41

Mounting a kerb for my part is no so much about parking ON or half-on the pavement and leave their vehicles, but when people drive head-first into a parallel parking space they drive onto the pavement with one or two wheels to fit in.

Annoys me to no end. It breaks down the kerbs and is dangerous, especially in our tight city streets with busy pavements. One slip on the accelerator and many could be injured.

grannylyn65 Wed 10-May-17 18:35:06


SueDonim Wed 10-May-17 20:24:01

I wouldn't mount the pavement with my car as it can damage the tyres and/or affect the tracking and steering.

I just pull over as far left as safely possible. The drivers are skilled at getting their vehicles through small spaces.

IngeJones Thu 11-May-17 10:25:39

In heavy traffic areas where it is hard to get ambulances through traffic quickly, the service often sends a motorcycle paramedic on ahead to stabilise the patient, so there is a bit more time to get the actual ambulance to them.

CardiffJaguar Thu 11-May-17 11:44:19

The police will tell you the correct action is to do what you can legally to let the emergency services pass you. Unfortunately any driver with a vehicle plus sirens and blue lights behind feels under pressure to move his/her vehicle and frequently does an illegal move.

I have seen a driver at traffic lights move in front of the adjoining lane but this is illegal against a red light. The emergency driver understands but is not going to stop the siren or blue light. They will find the best way through.

Legs55 Thu 11-May-17 11:51:38

I always pull to the side if I can, but on country roads this is not always immediately possible, in that case you should continue to drive within speed limit or road conditions until you can pull in. Never slow to a crawl if Ambulance/Police are behind you as this is a hinderance & don't panic

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 11-May-17 12:23:24

You're not alone, I think many of us feel a bit jittery in this situation. If I remember rightly, I was taught to indicate and pull in as safely as possible.

Whatthehellhappened Thu 11-May-17 12:41:27

I know a driver who got a ticket for moving through a red light to let an ambulance through - he didn't 'jump' the light in as much as go all the way through, just a few feet forward to get out of the way.

Lilyflower Thu 11-May-17 12:50:57

Pull over if you can by all means but never mount the pavement or infringe the law. You might well be putting the lives of others in danger.

annodomini Thu 11-May-17 13:36:40

I could see the blue lights in my mirror and clearly hear the siren, so signalled that I was pulling in. And a moron behind me took this as a sign to overtake me. Selfish, stupid or both?

chrissyh Thu 11-May-17 14:24:27

I was in traffic coming up to traffic lights with an ambulance behind me with blue lights but no siren. I mentioned this to my DD who is a paramedic, saying I was surprised they didn't have a siren on. She said they won't because they don't expect you to, nor should you, go through red lights. I think the same would be for moving over - as far as you can go without going onto the pavement. Also, if they are coming up behind you, pull over as soon as you safely can (making sure you aren't opposite another car or obstacle). I think sometimes we panic or are so anxious to get out of the way that we can cause more problems.

Smithy Thu 11-May-17 15:39:10

Interesting responses, I thought you were obliged to pull onto the pavement under those circumstances. An ambulance behind me on a busy road just on outskirts of Newcastle forced me to do just that by continuously pressing on the horn and there were obstructions on the pavement. I had to pull forward a little and then mount the pavement - no choice. I felt really agitated about the whole thing

Stella14 Thu 11-May-17 18:48:18

I don't agree with those who say 'I would never mount a kerb or go into a bus lane as it's illegal'. Mostly, it isn't necessary to do that, but should that be what is needed to let an ambulance go by, having checked that it is safe to do so, I absolutely would. The action could make the difference between life and death, it's only for a moment and no Police Officer would challenge a person about it. When it's an emergency, that is the priority!