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Thread: Emergency vehicles, red lights and red light cameras.

  1. #1

    Emergency vehicles, red lights and red light cameras.

    A main road dual carriageway near me that I cross three or more times a day while dog walking has a set of traffic lights which have a camera for speed and for red light.

    Many times the lights are on red with traffic stopped in both lanes and an emergency vehicle is trying to get through with sirens and lights going off and the vehicles stationary at the lights just don't know what to do.

    If the waiting vehicles go through the lights safely to allow the emergency vehicles through and get flashed by the camera will they still get a fine or would they be able to appeal and be cleared ?

  2. #2
    Iím not 100% sure on this but I think you can and will still get a ticket. I wonít cross a line for that reason, imagine if you hit a pedestrian or a car going the other way through the lights - youíd struggle to convince a judge that it was the right decision to make, even if it did make the police/ambulances journey a few seconds faster.

  3. #3
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    I think the only time you can cross a red light is if you are directed to do so by the police

  4. #4
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael 38 View Post
    I think the only time you can cross a red light is if you are directed to do so by the police
    This
    You must not cross a red light regardless of situation unless directed by a police officer.
    Itís for the emergency vehicle to get around you.

  5. #5
    It's far easier for the driver to work out what you are doing if you remain stationary.

  6. #6
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    Absolutely correct, don't do anything different to normal unless instructed by an officer of the law, you will never win an appeal.
    It's also been mentioned about emergency vehicles getting by you, or around you, leave it to them to find the best route, too many driver panic and try and second guess what the emergency vehicle is going do, normally ends up in a mess.

  7. #7
    Why do they have their sirens on? Will only intimidate drivers and encourage them to do something daft.

  8. #8
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Why do they have their sirens on? Will only intimidate drivers and encourage them to do something daft.
    So deaf people / general pedestrians on the street can hear them? They might be on either side of the roadÖ

  9. #9
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    The blue light driver should assess the situation and possible actions of all cars around them and should not do anything that would cause another driver to break the law. At a red light, with no way round, the blue light driver should sit back, turn the sirens off and wait until there is a safe way to continue.

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Why do they have their sirens on? Will only intimidate drivers and encourage them to do something daft.
    They shouldn't, blue-light training discourages using the sirens in such a situation: turn them off when there's traffic ahead stopped at a red light and turn them back on as soon as it becomes possible for traffic ahead to manoeuvre in order to assist the progress of the emergency vehicle.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  11. #11
    Thanks, the above is what I though but wasent 100% sure.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    They shouldn't, blue-light training discourages using the sirens in such a situation: turn them off when there's traffic ahead stopped at a red light and turn them back on as soon as it becomes possible for traffic ahead to manoeuvre in order to assist the progress of the emergency vehicle.

    R
    They obviously need re-training.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    They shouldn't, blue-light training discourages using the sirens in such a situation: turn them off when there's traffic ahead stopped at a red light and turn them back on as soon as it becomes possible for traffic ahead to manoeuvre in order to assist the progress of the emergency vehicle.

    R
    I have actually seen them do this now and again.

  14. #14
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheTigerUK View Post
    A main road dual carriageway near me that I cross three or more times a day while dog walking has a set of traffic lights which have a camera for speed and for red light.

    Many times the lights are on red with traffic stopped in both lanes and an emergency vehicle is trying to get through with sirens and lights going off and the vehicles stationary at the lights just don't know what to do.

    If the waiting vehicles go through the lights safely to allow the emergency vehicles through and get flashed by the camera will they still get a fine or would they be able to appeal and be cleared ?

    En route to an incident a fire appliance will have it's blue lights on, that's a given. Sirens are used judiciously where required when approaching junctions, roundabouts etc. The driver doesn't want to go as fast as possible through a roundabout; he just doesn't want to stop and lose time. I'd expect a driver in a car to ease through a red light to allow the appliance to progress, and I also expect that if a ticket was issued it would be rescinded. Legally a fire appliance can't go through a red light, but when property and much more importantly life are at risk then you'd proceed at a reduced rate through a red light, making sure that surrounding traffic is stopped and aware of your presence. The magic words "persons reported" on a turnout message gives an added impetus.

  15. #15
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    I frequently go through red light pedestrian crossings if there is no one waiting to cross. For example someone hits the button walking past but gets across before the lights change. I didnít think it would be a big deal from a common sense point of view. Actual traffic lights are different of course, but Iíd still go through a red with an emergency vehicle behind

  16. #16
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    I frequently go through red light pedestrian crossings if there is no one waiting to cross. For example someone hits the button walking past but gets across before the lights change. I didn’t think it would be a big deal from a common sense point of view. Actual traffic lights are different of course, but I’d still go through a red with an emergency vehicle behind
    Legally (if caught) it would be 3 points and a fine for the pedestrian crossing.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    Legally (if caught) it would be 3 points and a fine for the pedestrian crossing.
    With no pedestrians in the vicinity?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    With no pedestrians in the vicinity?
    I don't think that'd matter. Red light is red light, simple as. Once you start going down the extenuating circumstances route it becomes a slippery slope of prove/disprove.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  19. #19
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    With no pedestrians in the vicinity?
    Yep - mandatory stop.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  20. #20
    Amazed that anyone thinks otherwise TBH.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Amazed that anyone thinks otherwise TBH.
    I think most peopleís instinct, when they see an ambulance dealing with an emergency, is to try and do what they can to let it through. I guess people think if they can edge over the line to make space without causing danger to other motorists or pedestrians they are doing the right thing - even if they arenít.

    I certainly have seen cases where the sirens are kept on even when thereís no obvious way through.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    En route to an incident a fire appliance will have it's blue lights on, that's a given. Sirens are used judiciously where required when approaching junctions, roundabouts etc. The driver doesn't want to go as fast as possible through a roundabout; he just doesn't want to stop and lose time. I'd expect a driver in a car to ease through a red light to allow the appliance to progress, and I also expect that if a ticket was issued it would be rescinded. Legally a fire appliance can't go through a red light, but when property and much more importantly life are at risk then you'd proceed at a reduced rate through a red light, making sure that surrounding traffic is stopped and aware of your presence. The magic words "persons reported" on a turnout message gives an added impetus.
    Legally you are not allowed to go through a red light, so don't expect a ticket to be rescinded. But I agree, it's hard to just sit there and do nothing.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    I think most peopleís instinct, when they see an ambulance dealing with an emergency, is to try and do what they can to let it through. I guess people think if they can edge over the line to make space without causing danger to other motorists or pedestrians they are doing the right thing - even if they arenít.

    I certainly have seen cases where the sirens are kept on even when thereís no obvious way through.
    I would argue that there is a big difference in what is right and what is legal. Making way for blue lights may be illegal in many circumstances, but IMO it is the right thing to do if you can safely do it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    I don't think that'd matter. Red light is red light, simple as. Once you start going down the extenuating circumstances route it becomes a slippery slope of prove/disprove.

    R
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_in_the_UK View Post
    Yep - mandatory stop.
    "M'lud, the light is red to allow pedestrians across.

    But there is zero risk of me hitting a pedestrian if there are no pedestrians"

    I accept it may not get me far :-)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Possu View Post
    I would argue that there is a big difference in what is right and what is legal. Making way for blue lights may be illegal in many circumstances, but IMO it is the right thing to do if you can safely do it.
    Agreed, I've ended up on pavements to let them past (no pedestrians present, before anyone asks)

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    "M'lud, the light is red to allow pedestrians vehicles across.

    But there is zero risk of me hitting a pedestrian vehicle if there are no pedestrians vehicles."

    I accept it may not get me far :-)
    You won't be in a Crown Court, so Sir or Ma'am will suffice.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  27. #27
    When I was with the coastguard we had blue light vehicles and were told absolutely that we couldn't go through a red light. It was so excruciating waiting at a red with the blue lights flashing and everyone else around stopped for you, waiting for you to move and wondering why you didn't, that I used to turn the blue lights off approaching traffic lights.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    You won't be in a Crown Court, so Sir or Ma'am will suffice.

    R
    I'm talking about pedestrian crossings though, not traffic junctions. I don't go through those lights!!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    I frequently go through red light pedestrian crossings if there is no one waiting to cross. For example someone hits the button walking past but gets across before the lights change. I didnít think it would be a big deal from a common sense point of view. Actual traffic lights are different of course, but Iíd still go through a red with an emergency vehicle behind
    What does the Highway Code say about red lights at pedestrian crossings?

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    I'm talking about pedestrian crossings though, not traffic junctions. I don't go through those lights!!
    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    Red light is red light, simple as.
    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  31. #31
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    Just a half hour ago seen an ambulance go through a red light. Incoming traffic stopped to get her turn against the red

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    Just a half hour ago seen an ambulance go through a red light. Incoming traffic stopped to get her turn against the red
    Iím sure I see that fairly regularly too.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    Iím sure I see that fairly regularly too.
    As itís per emergence response training Iím sure weíre all likely to see it too.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  34. #34
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    Contrary to whatís stated already in the thread though

  35. #35
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphy View Post
    As itís per emergence response training Iím sure weíre all likely to see it too.

    R

    It's how it was when I was driving. Mind I was only there 32 years, maybe I missed the memo telling us to stop doing it.

  36. #36
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    Iíve seen numerous police officers interviewed where they clearly state a car should never cross a red light. I think itís pathetic that a car canít creep forward 10 metres to potentially save a life but itís up to them I suppose.

  37. #37
    You get a ticket end of


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  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    Contrary to whatís stated already in the thread though
    Where was it stated that an ambulance on an emergency run could not go through a red light?

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  39. #39
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    Post just a few up ref: blue lights

    Presumably then all blue lights are not created equal?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    I'd expect a driver in a car to ease through a red light to allow the appliance to progress, and I also expect that if a ticket was issued it would be rescinded.
    Isn't going through a red light an "absolute offence" - i.e. no mitigating circumstances can be taken into account?

    Personally, if I was blocking an ambulance/fire engine and could safely let them through by running a red light, I would probably do so. If I got a ticket, I'd pay it, in the knowledge that my action might possibly have saved a life.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by demonloop View Post
    Post just a few up ref: blue lights

    Presumably then all blue lights are not created equal?
    Not all emergency vehicles can go though a red light, but those belonging to the fire brigade, ambulance, bomb or explosive dispersal, national blood service and police can when on a emergency run using blue lights.

    R
    Ignorance breeds Fear. Fear breeds Hatred. Hatred breeds Ignorance. Break the chain.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodder View Post
    Iíve seen numerous police officers interviewed where they clearly state a car should never cross a red light. I think itís pathetic that a car canít creep forward 10 metres to potentially save a life but itís up to them I suppose.
    Completely ridiculous that mitigation isnít considered.

  43. #43
    Only likely to be a problem where there are cameras (or an accident), doubt even plod would pursue it.

  44. #44
    Grand Master ryanb741's Avatar
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    My wife is from Thailand and frequently marvels at how courteous drivers in the UK are and how they let emergency vehicles pass, often diverting to the side of the road to do so.

    This simply doesn't happen in Thailand, and ambulances are often caught in traffic jams with nobody moving aside for them.

    She is adamant that overall the level of driving and driver courtesy in the UK is head and shoulders above that in Thailand where drivers tend to be much more selfish.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanb741 View Post
    My wife is from Thailand and frequently marvels at how courteous drivers in the UK are and how they let emergency vehicles pass, often diverting to the side of the road to do so.

    This simply doesn't happen in Thailand, and ambulances are often caught in traffic jams with nobody moving aside for them.

    She is adamant that overall the level of driving and driver courtesy in the UK is head and shoulders above that in Thailand where drivers tend to be much more selfish.
    I hate driving in Thailand. Itís almost a law unto itself. I was shocked to see the emergency lane on motorways used regularly as another running lane.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanb741 View Post
    My wife is from Thailand and frequently marvels at how courteous drivers in the UK are and how they let emergency vehicles pass, often diverting to the side of the road to do so.

    This simply doesn't happen in Thailand, and ambulances are often caught in traffic jams with nobody moving aside for them.

    She is adamant that overall the level of driving and driver courtesy in the UK is head and shoulders above that in Thailand where drivers tend to be much more selfish.
    The same can be said coming from France Paris. Not so much regarding emergency vehicles, of course, but in terms or courtesy, common sense, etc.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  47. #47
    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    In Thailand, Colombia and a few other places it is legal to turn right on a red light. Possibly because everyone is going to do it anyway knowing that the cops have better things to deal with. It makes a lot of sense if everybody is aware of the rules.
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  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    In Thailand, Colombia and a few other places it is legal to turn right on a red light. Possibly because everyone is going to do it anyway knowing that the cops have better things to deal with. It makes a lot of sense if everybody is aware of the rules.
    Certain US states too.

  49. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Certain US states too.
    When I was in Tennessee (Knoxville) my friend often did this.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch21 View Post
    When I was with the coastguard we had blue light vehicles and were told absolutely that we couldn't go through a red light. It was so excruciating waiting at a red with the blue lights flashing and everyone else around stopped for you, waiting for you to move and wondering why you didn't, that I used to turn the blue lights off approaching traffic lights.
    That is because there are different standards of Blue light training. Coast Guard are supposed to obey all traffic signals and are not allowed to use roundabouts with red lights as give ways. Also not allowed to go the wrong side of traffic islands or speed. Emergency services have different standards and grades of blue light training. Police Pursuit drivers and riders have different rules and training. We are trained to switch off sirens if traffic is stationary at red lights, if a driver goes through a red light and is caught on the camera, they are committing an offence. There is a chance you will get away with it, if you appeal, but in the eyes of the law you have committed an offence. It is unto the driver of the Emergency vehicle to make safe progress without impeding any other road user.

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