Emergency Vehicles and Red Traffic Lights.

Discussion in 'Driving/Incidents/Roadrage' started by John, Mar 15, 2019 at 9:16 PM.

  1. John

    John MB Club Veteran

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    I was driving home earlier on road through a town with a three lane road either side.

    On the opposite side of the road to me I saw an ambulance with blues and wailer approaching the junction I'd just been through from a side turning - so the lights for it were red.

    All three lanes had at least two vehicles waiting at the red light and the ambulance opted for the outer lane which had a Merc behind a Transit waiting at the line.

    As the ambulance approached the Merc, it was clear the Merc was willing to move but the Transit remained stationary until the light changed to amber and then set off to move out the way (nothing coming out the turning in front of them which I'd used nor were there any pedestrians I could see (there are almost never any there anyway).

    It could be the Transit did not spot the ambulance behind but with blues and wailer at night this seems unlikely.

    I tend to move out the way if I can although I am conscious you could breach a traffic light camera albeit that's never happened. My instinct is someone could be dying so it seems selfish not to but I can well imagine there are those who don't care and wait.

    Just made me wonder what people do in those situations.
     
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  2. Teego

    Teego Member

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    Law says you can't jump a red under any circumstances unless instructed by uniformed plod.
     
  3. Flyinspanner

    Flyinspanner Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    If transit driver needs to keep his licence to keep his job, pay the mortgage, keep food on table for his kids, then I understand his reluctance to move, as our stupid money generating legal system don’t take “saving a life” into account when fines and points are handed out.

    Saying that I always try my utmost to give the emergency services as much room as possible, and am always dismayed when, I’ve pulled in but some D/head behind me is oblivious, and overtakes me, or the dipsticks who will stop next to a ‘traffic island’ type doohickey so the ambulance is forced onto the wrong side of the road :mad:
     
  4. OP
    OP
    John

    John MB Club Veteran

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    Something I also see a lot is the instant someone hears or sees an emergency vehicle, they seem to automatically brake.

    Yet so many times this just impedes the progress of an emergency vehicle.

    I don't understand why people don't analyse the situation to work out what makes sense for the vehicle to get through easily.

    It's not complicated.
     
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  5. Teego

    Teego Member

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    For many people it's extremely complicated. Almost every drive in my AMG when I come up for a clean pass a car in front will hit the brakes - Honda Jazz especially. Same on my bike but they don't pull over to give you space.
     
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  6. DavidL

    DavidL Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    There's too many stories of people being fined and/or given points for running red lights to allow the passage of emergency vehicles so sadly I understand the transit's reluctance. Unless you have your own dashcam you have a devil of a job proving why you did what you did after the fact. It's a sad state of affairs but I can understand it.
    Apologies for the Mirror link
    Drivers who go through red light to let ambulances pass could land £1,000 fine
     
  7. Rory

    Rory MB Club Veteran

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    They're not supposed to push people through red lights - in my 40yrs of city driving I've only been "caught" like this twice, I went through the lights both times but I wouldn't do it on lights I know to have cameras.

    Saw this discussed on another forum and a paramedic said he could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times where seconds would have made a difference.

    In moving traffic it's quite a regular occurance to have ambulances coming up behind us on the single carraigeway road out of town - the odd driver will see them when they're still way back and stop far too early which causes confusion for the cars behind who haven't yet seen the ambulance.
     
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  8. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    The traffic lights cameras of old had two flashes paces a second or so apart.

    If you breached the traffic lights line and triggered the camera, the second photo would show if you breached and stopped, in which case you won't be fined, or breached and continued to cross the junction, in which case you will.

    Modern cameras are often just CCTV so it's easy to see you didn't actually cross the junction.

    As for the ambulance... I was always told that jumping a red light to allow an emergency vehicle to pass is dangerous and should not be done. So it's not just a question of keeping your license or being selfish - it's actually the right thing to do.
     
  9. Dryce

    Dryce MB Club Veteran

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    Crossing the stop line or the advance stop line when the lights are red is an offence - regardless of whether you then stop or continue to advance across the junction.

    The double flash allows the camera to record if you were moving. The sensors under road trigger on movement. But suppose there are two cars - one stationary when the lights changed so no offence - the other moving. The moving one triggers the camera - and is the offender. A single image can't distinguish this situation. A pair of images can.

    We had a member Flango who posted on the subject of red lights and emergency vehicles.

    Also see this advice:

    Q699: What should I do if I am at a red traffic light and there is an emergency vehicle behind me trying to get through?

    It makes it clear that an offence will be commited but the second and third sentences 'However ....' could be taken as a suggestion that you should try and move. Then the hammer blow in the second paragraph for when you end up in couirt if you don't pay the fixed penalty: "the onus will be on you to provide evidence that you did so to allow an emergency vehicle through".

    Pretty sucky advice IMO. They should declare that crossing the stop line is forbidden - and leave it at that.
     
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  10. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    You may be right, but even so my experience is that if you cross the stop line but then stop, you won't be fined.
     
  11. m80

    m80 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I would prefer to defend my action of passing the red light line in court then chance the possibiltiy of allowing some one to die because I'm concenred about a few points.

    Right is right.
     
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  12. GeordieN

    GeordieN Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I would also try to get out of its way, but know the law says i should not jump a red light even in that circumstance, i am pretty sure emergency vehicles should also not jump red light either and causes a shit storm if they clip another vehicle doing so which is madness. I know if I or a loved one was waiting on an emergency vehicle and it was a matter of life or death i would want it as soon as possible. another way to look at it is, if a loved one was in the car with you and you knew you had to get to hospital or they were going to die, would you stop at a red light because I know I would not, slow down yes but sorry against the law or not I would get to the hospital as soon as i could and i would gladly take my punishment afterwards.
     
  13. Headhurts

    Headhurts Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    When I was out with the traffic police many year ago I was speaking with them regarding what they prefer as behaviour from drivers (we went on a couple of emergency calls)

    They preferred drivers to drive normally as they are trained to deal with this type of driving, they did not like the sudden braking causing a domino effect blocking the road or causing them to brake.

    They did not expect drivers to go over red lights or mount kerbs.

    It’s a tough one people with good intentions who mount the kerb could cause serious damage to wheels or suspension, many emergency calls turn out to be not an emergency so you could end up with damage or a fine when the call out is not an emergency.

    I normally carry on driving normally and let the trained responders make the overtake/pass when they deem it safe.

    Robin


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  14. 190

    190 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I will always pull over to give the emergency vehicle space but most times I don't stop. Automatically stopping at the sound of an approaching siren is often the dumbest thing to do but many or even most drivers do it.

    I don't know why but when I'm walking my granddaughter to school we very often see an ambulance with the lights and sirens going. It gives an opportunity to observe drivers reactions as a pedestrian and stopping often holds the ambulance up.
     
  15. brucemillar

    brucemillar MB Club Veteran

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    That is what I was taught and how I have always tried to drive. There may be times where "doing nothing" is correct? But most times we can find a way that does not hinder any concerned in our progress.

    Having sat in the back of far to many Emergency Ambulances over the past few years I have seen some absolute shockers, mostly caused (this is true) by people frozen to the steering wheel as if in shock (maybe they are) arms outstretched, straight ahead and rigid and their heads facing straight forward, desperately trying to ignore the fact that they have a mahoosive great Yellow Ambulance on Blues & Twos sat beside them making more noise than a fleet a Concordes on an Re-Heat Test.
     
  16. zoros

    zoros Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Same here, having worked with police and ambulance front line for many years - they expect you to behave normally - nothing unusual, nothing sudden and no excessive manouevres mounting kerbs or jumping lights!!!
     
  17. zipdip

    zipdip Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Yes happened to me on a 60mph road heading into Clacton on sea,a steady stream of traffic coming out of Clacton and the ambulance bearing down on me ,you need to think quick as to what you can do,I spotted a layby and zoomed into there so the ambulance could continue to break the speed limit,all too often people brake,and cause a problem if that layby had not turned up I would have put my foot down and raced to the next roundabout and gone round that to keep out of the way.
     
  18. TwoDogs80

    TwoDogs80 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I would not run a red light or pull into a bus lane or mount the pavement ect ect
    This subject came up in conversion a few weeks ago on my first aid course. The trainer used to be a 1st team responder and he said they are trained to work around traffic and be prepared for people that cant/won't give way. He's lost count how many law suits hes heard of in the big cities where everything is on camera.
    If they can't get through he said he just sit back, no point in panicking and wait for a safe path. His health priority as well as other road users around him. Also he mentioned that all 999 services are not actually allowed to run red lights or speed through speed cameras, but they waiver them in good will.
     
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  19. st13phil

    st13phil MB Club Veteran

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    Unfortunately, in our "wrong is wrong and right is right" climate for traffic law enforcement, the "noble cause" argument just doesn't wash. The only time I'll breach the stop line on a red light is if instructed to do so by a Constable in uniform. Sad, but that's where we are.

    Ironically, in other countries - such as France - you will get stuck on if you don't move out of the way for a blue-light vehicle.
     
  20. Ted

    Ted MB Club Veteran

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    I thought you had to stop on the white line, not (necessarily) behind it.
    That should surely give you leeway to move aside?

    Or maybe I got that wrong.
     

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