Police Advice for Kent Drivers

1 July 2010, 16:06

Police have told Heart that lots of drivers don't know what to do if an emergency vehicle needs to get past them in a hurry.

It's something that happens on a daily basis across Kent - either police cars, ambulances or fire engines will have their sirens on and lights flashing as they try and get to an emergency call as quickly as possible.

Inspector Martin Stevens from Kent Police's Roads Policing Unit said:  'It can be startling to hear and see the sometimes loud, flashing approach of the police or another emergency service, but if a driver doesn't act accordingly, he or she could cause problems for other vehicles on the road or the emergency services themselves.

'While most drivers are very sensible, some panic and slam on their brakes. This does not allow enough time for traffic travelling behind them to react and could cause a collision as a result.

'Other drivers speed up in an attempt to keep ahead of the police, endangering themselves and other drivers, as well as holding up the emergency service vehicle trying to get through.

'Even more of us choose to stop where we are, even if it is on a narrow road with no room for other vehicles to pass.'

All of these problems can be easily avoided if drivers know how to react properly.   Kent Police advise that when drivers hear sirens, they should:

  • Remain calm
  • Slow down
  • Indicate before pulling over in a safe, wide section of the road wherever possible
  • Wait for the emergency service vehicle to pass fully before indicating again and pulling back out onto the road to continue with your journey

Inspector Stevens added: 'It is far better for a driver to take a bit more time to pull over safely than to panic and make a bad decision which could endanger other road users or delay the emergency services.

'We would also always advise drivers who regularly park in small, narrow roads or side streets to be mindful of other drivers passing by their stationary vehicle.  Be considerate of other road users and park so that others can get by easily without having to perform difficult or tight manoeuvres.

'A poorly parked car is dangerous not only to other drivers, but to any of the emergency services that may need to navigate that road to reach an incident.

'By following our simple advice easy steps, you can ensure that emergency services arrive quickly and safely to help those in need.'