Pulling over for fire engines

photo of wing mirror with fire engine shown in view

When drivers encounter an emergency vehicle that is operating its flashing lights or siren, they must let it pass safely, but pulling over or stopping isn't always the safest solution.

We offer the following advice for road users:

  • Consider the route of the vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass safely.  Wherever possible, drivers should pull over to the side of the road and stop, but you should not endanger other road users in doing so.
  • Indicate your intentions clearly by using your indicators, or hazards if necessary. This lets the driver of the emergency vehicle know you have seen them and also lets other road users know what you are doing. 
  • When you become aware of an emergency vehicle, do not panic and brake suddenly as this slows the progress of the emergency vehicle and puts other road users' lives at risk.
  • If you are in heavy traffic, stopping may prevent the emergency vehicle from passing. In this situation it may be better for you to continue moving until you find a more suitable place to pull over where the emergency vehicle can pass.
  • Make sure you look out for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, other motorists and any other hazards before manouevering.  Do not forget to check your mirrors.
  • Always look before you pull out again.  There may be another emergency vehicle passing, or other motorists who have also pulled out after stopping.
  • Do not go through red lights and do not stop in dangerous places, such as level crossings.
  • Stereos should be set at a volume that allows sirens and horns to be heard.
  • If you see or hear emergency vehicles in the distance be aware there may be an accident ahead.
  • If you approach the scene of an incident remain at a safe driving speed and be aware of other emergency vehicles approaching.  Keep your attention on the road and do not slow down or stop to look as this causes collisions and tail backs.
  • Be prepared for a seemingly normal civilian car to turn into an emergency vehicle at any time.
  • Check your mirrors frequently so that you are always aware of your surroundings.