JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Emergency vehicles, despite the widespread closedown of South Africa’s roads to normal traffic, might still encounter vehicles hampering their progress – so here’s what to do if flashing blue or red lights appear in your mirrors.
If you’re out – perhaps to buy essential groceries – sit – ut in the suburbs and freeways – follow the sensible course. Get the hell out of the way.
If you hear sirens…
- …don’t stop abruptly or change course abruptly. Determine from where the emergency vehicle is approaching before you decide how to get out of the way.
- Don’t switch into the yellow emergency lane – it’s called ”emergency lane” because it’s supposed to be used by emergency vehicles (except when selfish taxi drivers feel it is more useful to help them make more fares).
- Never skip a red light or junction stop sign to make way, either. Cross-traffic won’t know what is happening. You could be the next to be picked up by another ambulance.
- Don’t immediately return to the lane you were using – fire units, for instance, usually travel in convoy so you could get a hose up your backside.
- Under no circumstances fail to give way. The time wasted by the ambulance could cost somebody’s life – perhaps a child?
- Never follow an emergency vehicle in the hope of getting to the office in time for coffee. If the ambulance/fire tender/police car suddenly brakes you’re likely to ram it and the next ambulance to come along will be for you.
South Africa, like many other countries, has seen a reduction traffic collisions because of lockdowns but it’s still important to educate yourself about how to react when your mirror reflects red and blue lights. So, go back and read this again… Thank You.
Emergency crews are still under great pressure. Make sure you are neither the reason an ambulance fails to arrive on time – it could be coming for you next.