Campaign calls on drivers to steer clear of emergency vehicles

12.00 | 9 November 2016 | | 5 comments

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched a new campaign following an increase in the number of drivers delaying the county’s fire engines from getting to incidents.

The #INeedMySpace campaign was launched on Monday (7 Nov) with the backing of Road Safety GB.

It was produced as Hants fire chiefs say the number of incidents in which motorists hinder emergency service vehicles with erratic driving and poor parking is ‘worse than ever before’.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue says that motorists are putting lives at risk by blocking off roads and even stopping on box junctions outside fire stations. Parking is not the only problem, with firefighters claiming some drivers are not sure what to do when they hear the sirens blaring.

They add that some motorists slam their brakes immediately – increasing the risk of causing an accident while others try to tailgate behind the vehicle.

As a result, the service is giving guidance for motorists on how best to help emergency services get to accidents:

  • CALM: Don’t panic or speed up in an attempt to get out of the way.
  • ALERT: Turn distracting music down and check mirrors to help determine the direction and number of emergency vehicles.
  • RESPONSE: Indicate, check your mirror and move to the left when it is safe to do so.

In addition to these guidelines the public are urged to give a stationary emergency service vehicle a wide berth when moving around it.

Under the campaign hashtag, photographs and videos will be posted online to show examples of these practices and help educate motorists.

Andy Bowers, assistant chief officer, said: “The issue of motorists blocking the paths of emergency services vehicles is worse than ever before.

“Some drivers are parking opposite one another making an entire road inaccessible while others are actually stopping by station exits, often in the hatched areas, and some are even leaving their cars on our grounds.

“On the road we have to deal with motorists who are unsure what to do to allow emergency vehicles to pass, and often slam on their brakes the minute they hear the siren, as well as people who try and tailgate when we have gone past.”

Iain Temperton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, said: “Our emergency services have a challenging enough job and we all have a responsibility to ensure that they reach their destination as effectively as possible.

“This simple, common sense advice for drivers will help all of us park and drive in such a way that we play our part in keeping our communities safe.”

In a similar initiative back in 2011, GEM Motoring Assist launched the Blue Light Aware video which shows drivers the actions they should take to assist an emergency services vehicle on a ‘blue light’ journey.




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    Maybe time to rerun the good Blue Light Aware YouTube from GEM with an update on parking!

    Peter Wilson Westminster
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    People do not realise the importance of having a road able to be passable by emergency vehicles in something like a cul-de-sac unless you’re in that unfortunate situation where you are needing one.

    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Apparently in Germany if one’s poorly-parked vehicle hinders the passage of an emergency vehicle it just gets rammed out of the way, and one is liable for any damage caused to the emergency vehicle in the process.

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Solution to inappropriately parked cars blocking a fire engine’s route on an emergency: Fit bigger bumpers to fire engines and make them exempt from claims from drivers of said inappropriately parked vehicles that have been shoved out of the way on route to a shout. Probably no need to repeat that ‘message’ to anyone on the receiving end of a car damaged for that reason.

    Pat, Wales
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    A bit of give and take is called for. I know some drivers do freeze when they hear and see one approaching and their reaction is to simply stop straight away – sometimes in the worst possible place – however fire appliances in particular can be a bit intimidating and their presence can panic motorists into wanting to be seen to do the right thing.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen emergency vehicle drivers not thinking either, such as going through red lights recklessly, as though their sirens will temporarily suspend the laws of physics and will create a force field around them.

    I’ve seen footage from ‘Traffic Cops’ (or similar) where police vehicles have crashed into the rear of a vehicle ahead, the police driver assumed it would be moving out of the way – it didn’t! Whose fault is that?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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