Understanding Road Rules Around Emergency Vehicles in Queensland
When you’re behind the wheel, it’s crucial to understand how to respond when an emergency vehicle is on the road. In Queensland, emergency vehicles include police, fire, and ambulance vehicles. These vehicles, when sounding an alarm or showing flashing red or blue lights, require drivers to act with heightened caution and consideration. Here’s what you need to do:
1. If an Emergency Vehicle is Approaching You
- Slow down: Ensure you’re not adding to the urgency by being a road hazard.
- Move left: This helps to provide a clear path down the middle of the road for the emergency vehicle. If you can’t move left safely, remain stationary and let the emergency vehicle overtake you.
- Avoid sudden movements: Don’t move your vehicle suddenly which might confuse or endanger the drivers of the emergency vehicle.
- Don’t obstruct: Never drive into the path of the emergency vehicle.
The law allows you to drive onto the wrong side of the road or through a red traffic light to make way for an emergency vehicle, but this should only be done if it’s safe.
2. At Intersections
Emergency vehicles often slow down or stop at intersections to check if they can pass through safely. Remember, you must give way to an emergency vehicle that is sounding an alarm or showing flashing lights, even if you are facing a green traffic light or the emergency vehicle seems to have slowed or stopped. Regularly check your mirrors and stay vigilant.
3. Penalties for Not Adhering to These Rules
Queensland Road Rules 2009 Section 78 enforce penalties for moving into or failing to move out of the path of an emergency vehicle, or unsafe passing of parked emergency response vehicles. The fines range from $361 to $464, with an addition of 3 demerit points to your licence.
4. Parked Emergency Response Vehicles with Flashing Lights
If you’re passing a parked emergency response vehicle displaying flashing lights, you are required to slow down and move over safely. If on a multi-lane road, maintain at least one clear lane between your vehicle and the emergency response vehicle. This rule, however, is not applicable if it’s unsafe or impractical to change lanes, during roadworks, if following a direction from an officer, or when making a left or right turn.
If you can’t move over or are driving on a single-lane road, move over as much as possible within your lane and slow down to a safe speed.
In all situations, ensure the safety of parked vehicles, emergency response workers, pedestrians, surrounding traffic, and consider road and weather conditions before deciding your actions.
Road rules around emergency vehicles are designed to ensure the safety of all road users and to facilitate quick and efficient response times for our emergency services. By understanding and adhering to these rules, we not only make the roads safer for ourselves but also contribute to the effective operations of our emergency response teams. Every second counts in an emergency, and our actions as responsible drivers can help save lives. So let’s stay informed, remain vigilant, and drive safely. After all, a life may depend on our actions on the road.