Wednesday, 18 November
Our emergency services workers, roadside assist and road workers risk their lives daily to help us. When you see those flashing lights, move over and slow down to keep them safe.
Do you know what to do when you see flashing lights and hear sirens? Police, fire and ambulance vehicles often need to travel at high speeds in emergency situations and you may not have much time to react to their sudden appearance.
When it comes to emergency vehicles, road rules in Australia vary a little between each state and territory so it’s important to check on the regulations where you live. If you’re a frequent interstate traveler, it’s your responsibility to be aware of any cross-border rule differences too. Ignorance of another state’s law is no excuse and hefty penalties can apply.
At present, the speed limit when passing emergency vehicles in Victoria, NSW, Western Australia and Tasmania is 40km/h. This applies when approaching or passing any emergency vehicle that’s stationary or moving slowly with their siren going and/or lights flashing. In NSW, there’s an additional rule on roads with a 90km/h (or more) speed limit that says drivers must safely slow down to a speed ‘reasonable for the circumstances’. In South Australia, drivers must slow to 25km/h or less whenever passing a stationary emergency vehicle. Please note: these rules are subject to change.
Are there flashing lights behind you? Slow down to the required speed and move as far left as you can to give the emergency vehicle a clear run down the road’s right side. If you’re unable to move left safely, drive cautiously and let the vehicle pass you. If you’re already in the left lane, do your best to allow other drivers to safely move into your lane as well. Clearly indicate and signal intentions.
You should never move your car suddenly or without careful planning around emergency vehicles; stay calm, drive predictably and watch your speed.