Police wary of motorists failing to let emergency vehicles pass

4:44 pm on 27 November 2019

Auckland police are increasingly concerned about the number of drivers who ignore the flashing lights and sirens of emergency services.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

It's becoming more of a problem on the city's motorways, with drivers failing to pull over or give way, as emergency services rush to critical incidents, police said.

Inspector Scott Webb said ambulances, fire engines and police cars need to get to emergency situations fast, so it was crucial motorists move out of the way as soon as possible.

"We see it every day where people don't give way, take far too long to do so, or stop in the middle lane or the fast lane," he said.

"Sometimes, drivers aren't checking their mirrors or have their music up too loud so are completely oblivious to the fact we're behind them trying to get through traffic."

If motorists were driving on a single lane road, they needed to indicate and pull over to the left side of the road to wait for the emergency vehicle to pass, Mr Webb said.

On a multi-laned road motorists should slow down, indicate and get into the left lane so the emergency vehicle can pass.

People should check their mirrors to see which lane the vehicle is coming in, so they don't pull out in front of it.

If the motorway is congested, drivers should check their rear view mirrors, as the emergency vehicle will likely want to split traffic.

Those in the left lane should pull over as far left as possible, and those in the right lane should pull over as far right as possible.

That creates a gap in the middle for the emergency vehicle to get through.

Not making way for an emergency vehicle can result in a $150 fine.

Fire and Emergency assistant area manager Stephan Sosich said it was important to remember that flashing lights and sirens on a fire truck or emergency service vehicle meant they were on their way to help someone in need.

"Those extra seconds can make all the difference so make sure you check your mirrors and pull over safely to let us pass," he said.