Rules around red light emergency

Different rules apply in each state regarding driver responsibility when in the path of oncoming emergency vehicles.
Red traffic light emergency

Common sense is not a common trait when it comes to consistency of road rules across each state of Australia. There are different rules for the same function and this can cause confusion for drivers.

In Queensland the rules for drivers when an emergency vehicle appears behind them are published on this website .

In simple terms, an emergency vehicle is a police, fire or ambulance vehicle. If one (or more) of them is coming towards you and is sounding an alarm or showing flashing red or blue lights, you must move out its path as soon as you can do so safely.

You should follow these procedures if you can:

  • Slow down
  • Do not move your vehicle suddenly
  • Do not drive into the path of the emergency vehicle
  • Move left to give the vehicle a clear run down the middle of the road. If you can’t move left safely, stay where you are and let the emergency vehicle overtake you.

You may drive onto the wrong side of the road or drive through a red traffic light to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle if it is safe to do so. You have to determine if it is safe to do so – and you’ll most likely have to decide very quickly.

Take care not to rush and check all the intersection if you are entering against a red light, as often the drivers coming from a different direction will not be aware of the emergency vehicle approaching.

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.