Community Papers

Drivesmart: Emergency manoeuvres

A reader was traveling in a major municipality recently and was stopped in a large collection of vehicles waiting for a red light at the intersection of two multiple lane highways. Emergency vehicles using lights and sirens approached from the rear and tried to get through the traffic and the intersection. There was significant difficulty and the reader was curious how far forward vehicles could move into the cross flow of traffic to assist in clearing a path.

It’s a good question as I’m sure that we all want to do what we can to accommodate emergency services when someone is in need. However, does it mean that we should try to force our way through the red light and risk causing a collision to do so?

The obvious is to state that there is no exemption from having to remain stopped at the intersection when we are facing a red light.

All things considered, one solution to the issue will be waiting for the lights to change so that everyone can proceed safely. Emergency responses do not always turn out to involve a life-threatening situation so waiting may be better than risking a crash.

If you decide that as a last resort, the only thing that you can do is disobey traffic rules and move into cross traffic, you are taking a huge risk. If a collision were to occur, the courts and your insurance company will have to apply the laws as they stand to decide liability. Sympathy for your attempt to do the best in a bad situation will be noted but won’t affect the decision.

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