What should I do when I hear emergency sirens?

NRMA emergency driving NRMA emergency driving

Emergency service vehicles respond to incidents in NSW every day. It is paramount that all road users understand how to respond appropriately when they hear or see an emergency siren.

NRMA Driver Training urges all road users to increase their understanding of road rules to help increase safety levels on the road.

Top 10 tips

1. Do not panic
You might feel a little overwhelmed when you hear a siren and traffic starts to move aside but remember to stay calm and don’t panic. Panicking and stopping abruptly in an unsafe place can cause a huge threat to the safety of you and others on the road.

2. Slow down
Stopping suddenly could cause harm to the emergency vehicle or another vehicle. Slow down and don’t make any sudden movements.

3. Indicate
You might be distracted by the siren, but don’t forget to indicate. Showing the emergency vehicle where you are going, and other vehicles nearby, will help all road users leave or arrive safely.

4. Don't block roads
Be careful not to block roads as you might block the pathway for an oncoming emergency vehicle.

5. Be aware of other vehicles
Focus and be aware of all vehicles, including the emergency vehicle and other road users to prevent accidents.

6. Do not obstruct traffic
Obstructing vehicles can cause harm! Ensure you move your vehicle out of the pathway, safely.

7. Move to the left
If it is safe to do so, move as far to the left as possible to make room for the emergency vehicle aiming to get past.

8. Never run a red light
If you are waiting at a red light when you hear a siren behind you, you must not go through a red light, as it might put other road users in danger. Move to the left if you are able to. If not, it is the emergency vehicle’s responsibility to find another route through, or wait until safe to do so.

9. Don't play loud music

Ensuring you are able to hear sounds clearly around you is paramount to how quick your reactions are. Playing loud music can obstruct you from hearing a siren timeously, so ensure your music isn’t too loud and avoid the use of headphones.

10. Never ignore a flashing light or siren 
Surprisingly, some drivers choose to ignore a flashing light or siren. Doing this can hinder the emergency vehicle’s ability to get to their destination as quickly as they can.Ensure you are fully aware of what the NSW Road Rules are, and how you can avoid potential penalties and harm.

The consequences of moving into the path of police or an emergency vehicle will incur a $439 fine, under the Road Rules 2014 Rule 78 (1). Not moving out of the path of police or an emergency vehicle will also incur a $439 fine, under the Road Rules 2014 Rule 78 (2).