Dubai: Sometimes, road etiquette can only be followed by the threat of harsh penalties.
Disregarding ambulances and emergency vehicles on the roads is a serious traffic offence, and it is one that authorities relentlessly aim to curb.
According to Dubai Police statistics, the number of violations for not giving way to ambulances increased from 81 in 2013, to 121 in 2014, and to 162 in 2015.
To curb motorists from carrying out these traffic violations, police across the emirates are warning drivers that the offence will carry a punishment of Dh500 and four black points on their driver’s licence.
Ahmad Saleh Al Hajeri, National Ambulance’s Deputy chief executive officer, said: “On a daily basis, our ambulances are committed to reaching patients at their home or on the road.
“Every second counts in situations like this, and road users should be our partners in saving lives and ensuring the best possible outcomes by always being ready and responsible to give us the right of way and allowing us to pass,” he said.
One of the main obstacles that emergency vehicles face when attempting to reach their destination are motorists who panic at the sound or sight of ambulances or police.
While some drivers stop in the wrong place, others refuse to stop at all.
Here is what safe drivers should, and should not do, when they face an emergency vehicle on the road.
How to drive when an ambulance approaches
Do not panic, stay alert, and avoid being distracted
Anticipate the likely route the emergency vehicle will take
Avoid braking abruptly and blocking the road or a junction
Look ahead for a safe area where you can pull over
Slow down, signal and move to the right
At intersections, you must give way to an emergency vehicle even if you are facing a green traffic light
Wait for the emergency vehicle to pass and watch out for more first responders
Check to make sure the way is clear and signal before merging back into traffic.
What not to do
Never tailgate or overtake emergency vehicles
Do not race after emergency vehicles
Never speed to allow emergency vehicles to pass
Do not jump a red light to allow an emergency vehicle to pass
Source: UAE Road Safety