Emergency Vehicles - Advice

I was driving home last night at around 7pm, I live up a windy road that is quite wide, easily get 2 buses passing one-another in most places so it’s not one of those really tight roads, speed limit is 40mph. As I was nearing the turn to my road, I saw some blue lights in my rear view mirror. It was an unmarked police car/suv and as it approached me it put it’s sirens on presumably because it wanted me to stop for it to go past. There was a steady flow of traffic coming in the other direction. I knew there was a place to stop and pull in but it was about 500m further down the road and it was quite clearly in BIG rush. I pulled in as far as I could to the curb, the police car had to stop as the cars on the other side of the road didn’t stop, then after a few seconds it got round and sped off very fast. 

My Mrs was in the car and said I did the right thing but it’s been on my mind ever since. I’ve only been driving full time in my own car for about 1 year and haven’t come across too many emergency vehicles and cannot remember what was said when I was learning so wonder if anyone had any tips? Or if there are some guidelines that exist out there somewhere, or if there is an element of common sense depending on the situation you find yourself in?

Looking back, I think it would have been quicker for the police if I’d have carried on to the place I could have pulled in, but he was really aggressively asking me to pull in I don’t know if I’d have been brave enough to carry on with him right up behind me. 

P.S. I was going over the speed limit up that road and it never occurred to me he may have been pulling me up for speeding. When I said there is a police car and it’s got it’s lights on behind me, my mrs said something along the lines of, maybe you should stop speeding then :confused:



See the highway code section 5 219, it basically says that you should consider where is the safest place to allow the emergency vehicle to pass without putting yourself or others in danger.

It’s a difficult one Dave as you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. always going to cause stress and there is no right or wrong answer.

Common sense and luck hopefully provided the best answer for you but perhaps thwarted to some extent by oncoming traffic.

Not sure what I would have done as 500 yards is a long way with that kind of pressure especially as you were already speeding to try and help which I would suggest is what most of us would have done.

Did you turn your hazard lights on? - that is the only other thing i could suggest with hindsight. 


I tend to agree with this.


Whether over the speed limit or not I would find the safest place to come to a full stop and allow the emergency vehicle to do whatever manoeuvre is required to go around me.


I would qualify this by saying I am old and my driving test was a very long time ago…






Cheers 59. Just read that. Glad it said don’t mount the kerb as that was one of the things I thought I could have done to let them passed even with the traffic coming the other way. Thinking back I do remember my instructor telling me I shouldn’t mount the kerb in such circumstances. 

Just seen the other two replies and I wasn’t going too fast, probably just over 40 up the hill, then it turns to 30 as you go over the brow of the hill and I wasn’t really thinking about the change in speed limit as I was watching for what the police car was doing. Wherever they were going it seemed more serious than me going a few mph over the speed limit!


Having been overseen (from above) more than a few police pursuits (I was an employee at the official end, not the naughty end), an emergency vehicle on a “shout” just wants to get there as quickly as possible, obviously without causing an accident. The “blues and twos” are obviously designed to warn other road users of their presence, that’s all. Don’t try to mount the kerb because you might damage your car, or even worse, bounce off, lose control and have a collision with the emergency vehicle or another one.

Sounds to me that you just did as best you could in the circumstances. If you had sped up more, you might have been “pulled” yourself, depending on the urgency of the “shout” the police were attending. If you had carried on to your turning the police car might still have had to stop behind you. So be it, their worry, not yours!

Just one word of warning; make sure (if this situation ever arises in future) you never cross a red light to let an emergency vehicle come through behind you - others have been prosecuted for doing so.

I would have done the same in your situation and expected the oncoming drivers to stop. Word of warning: never pull into an active bus lane to let an emergency vehicle past; if you’re caught on camera you will be done…

Sounds like you did the correct thing, it’s then up to the oncoming traffic to allow the emergency vehicle through, oh and never mount the curb.

I had a decision to make only earlier this week, 3 lanes of traffic stopped at the traffic lights, everyone seemed to panic and move over to the right lane but that was full so they couldn’t move over anywhere really, guess where the ambulance wanted to go, yes most should have realised it wanted the right turn. The hospital well I could see it from where I was to the right, I opted to stay where I was as it wasn’t hampering their progress, they ended up going around the lights on the wrong side of the road having got stuck with folk mounting kerbs and literally causing a road block in the right lane.
It’s one of the busiest junctions on the Derby ring road, reconfigured a few years ago when the hospital was extended, I thinkl it would have been ideal to have put an ambulance only lanes around there as they do with bus lanes, they have a bus lane but that starts after the hospital that’s planning for you.

You can ONLY take each case as it comes. Safety is paramount.

I was recently almost wiped out by a fire engine on an emergency shout. Ordinary road, one lane in each direction. saw a fire engine racing towards me, all lights flashing. It was behind two cars. I pulled over hard left and stopped. Car directly in front of fire engine did the same. Fire engine pulled out to pass car. First car kept on pottering down the road towards me. Fire engine Passed this car at a great rate of knots.

I did NOT realise that there was room for me, the Fire engine, and an old bloke in a big car all passing at the same time. It was BLOODY CLOSE !!!

I do not mind admitting new underpants were called for. How a driver cannot notice a HUGE Red Fire Engine, all lights flashing and sirens hooting in his rear view mirror beggars belief.

My little MX5 would have given me VERY LITTLE protection, I was very lucky.

Regards, John D