Question and Answer - Q699

Question

What should I do if I am at a red traffic light and there is an emergency vehicle behind me trying to get through?

Answer

If you cross the stop line at the junction whilst the lights are on red, you will commit the offence of contravening a red traffic light. However if there is an emergency vehicle behind you with its emergency warning signals on it might be possible for you to manoeuvre out of the way to allow it through. Ideally this should be to the side of the road without encroaching into the main area of the junction. It should only be done when it is safe to do so without putting yourself or other members of the public in danger and it should only be done slowly and carefully.

It is important to remember that in committing the offence (crossing the stop line) the onus will be on you to provide evidence that you did so to allow an emergency vehicle through, and this may be considered as mitigation.

For further consideration Rule 219 of The Highway Code states:

You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights. When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road. Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.

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