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Old 13.08.2012, 18:51
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Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

With the increase is sirens flying by (for the street parade I'm assuming), it came to my attention, that it doesn't seem customary for cars to pull over when flashing lights/sirens are coming from behind.

In Canada, it's a very strict rule that if an emergency vehicle is approaching (from front or behind) on a road without a median divider, all traffic must pull aside and slow with the intention to stop.

I have not seen this as the case in Switzerland. Room is usually given so the emerg. vehicle can pass by, but it doesn't receive full road use as back home, and the cars never slow or stop.

Do the rules in Canada seem to be overkill?, or do the drivers on Swiss street not give enough right-of-way to emergencies.
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Old 13.08.2012, 19:05
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

You seem to have experienced the Swiss 'lack-of-rear-view-mirror-use-syndrome'. I always pull right over or get out the way, but have had drivers behind try to pass me as they had not seen or heard the emergency vehicle approaching...
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Old 13.08.2012, 19:10
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

You have to pull over in the States as well. Also, in most states, If you are approaching a traffic stop on the shoulder, you have to change to the far lane if available, so as to minimize the chance of hitting a police officer with your car.

It didn't even occur to me that people might not do the same here. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 14.08.2012, 07:42
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

Of course, you have to pull over here and slow down as well here in Switzerland when the ambulance or police got sirene and flashing lights on.
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Old 14.08.2012, 07:55
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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Of course, you have to pull over here and slow down as well here in Switzerland when the ambulance or police got sirene and flashing lights on.

And from my experience in all these years it functions just as well here as anywhere else.
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Old 14.08.2012, 08:02
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

I've seen it work as well as it can given the conditions in the middle of the city with its congested roads and nowhere for a car to squeeze over to.

Where there are tram tracks/bus lanes it works fine but I've seen emergency vehicles struggling to pass a queue of traffic which has nowhere to pull over.

Having said that, there seems to be a lot heavier use of the air ambulance. Maybe that's why?
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Old 14.08.2012, 08:10
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

Pull over to where? There`s not even a piece of driveable land next to most roads to avoid an oncoming auto approaching a head-on collision!

I`ll never forget my first "practice" drives on right side (for the conversion test) ..... I had to lean my head against the window to make sure I lined up with the middle of the road so approaching cars could slide past without taking off the side mirrors, at the same time keeping the outer wheels within the road surface. The roads here are SO narrow!

I`ve often wondered where one should pull over to with approaching emergency vehicles?
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Old 14.08.2012, 09:21
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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Pull over to where? There`s not even a piece of driveable land next to most roads to avoid an oncoming auto approaching a head-on collision!
Most two lane roads here are wide enough to fit 3 or 4 vehicles side by side without anyone having to go off the tarmac. And if not, then you're not supposed to go off road and just keep on driving - slow down or stop at the side of the road (onto the sidewalk, grass, field, etc) to make room for the emergency vehicle, then continue.
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Old 14.08.2012, 10:12
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

That reminds me, t'other day I came across a police car stopped in the middle of the road/lane. They seemed to have pulled over a car and were talking to the owner (who was still seated in the car).

The difficulty in knowing exactly what I should do, was that the police car was stopped in the middle of the lane, with no hazard or emergency lights on, just below the brow of a hill, in front of the pedestrian crossing (with lights) and thus with solid lines in the middle of the road - which we all know we are not allowed to cross under pain of death.

I was sorely tempted to pull over (safely) and take a photo to send it in to the police with a pop-quiz of what was wrong, and enquire as to what the penalties might be for such multiple infractions...
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Old 14.08.2012, 11:20
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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That reminds me, t'other day I came across a police car stopped in the middle of the road/lane. They seemed to have pulled over a car and were talking to the owner (who was still seated in the car).

The difficulty in knowing exactly what I should do, was that the police car was stopped in the middle of the lane, with no hazard or emergency lights on, just below the brow of a hill, in front of the pedestrian crossing (with lights) and thus with solid lines in the middle of the road - which we all know we are not allowed to cross under pain of death.

I was sorely tempted to pull over (safely) and take a photo to send it in to the police with a pop-quiz of what was wrong, and enquire as to what the penalties might be for such multiple infractions...
You should have reported it to the police
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Old 14.08.2012, 12:28
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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You should have reported it to the police
There's a redlight camera just under my balcony, and I saw an ambulance get flashed last night. I wonder which poor sucker will pay that fine
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Old 14.08.2012, 12:39
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

The fine will be waived. I know a heart surgeon who may be called out to save someone's life. His speed-camera fines are waived when he sends the medical details of the incident with the notification.

He's not exempt from other driving laws; if he had an accident while travelling at speed on a call, he'd be liable.
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Old 14.08.2012, 13:29
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

Just for interest sake in UK, when at traffic lights you should not pull forward to allow an emergency services vehicle through.

If there is a red light camera you will not be let off as its an absolute offence.

many have been prosecuted in court even though the photo also shows the ambulance/fire truck in the frame.
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Old 14.08.2012, 13:36
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

In the UK, you pull over to let the ambulance through, then immediately zoom back into the lane and drive as fast as possible, right behind the ambulance.

You beat all the traffic jams that way.
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Old 14.08.2012, 13:42
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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In the UK, you pull over to let the ambulance through, then immediately zoom back into the lane and drive as fast as possible, right behind the ambulance.

You beat all the traffic jams that way.
Ideal move for efficient travel!

Unfortunately, in Canada, they've caught on, and there's specific strict laws (as well as huge warning letters on the rear) as well as large fines for following an emergency vehicle. (Obviously one in an emergency situation or else it would make things awkward :P )
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Old 14.08.2012, 14:55
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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Ideal move for efficient travel!

Unfortunately, in Canada, they've caught on, and there's specific strict laws (as well as huge warning letters on the rear) as well as large fines for following an emergency vehicle. (Obviously one in an emergency situation or else it would make things awkward :P )
There must be many lawyers who have gone out of business since this law came into being...
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Old 14.08.2012, 15:05
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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There's a redlight camera just under my balcony, and I saw an ambulance get flashed last night. I wonder which poor sucker will pay that fine
My wife, who works in an emergency ward, has told me of the details of this. Each month a bill comes to the hospital with the times of all of the infringements. They then have to print out all of the cases that are relevant to prove there was a need for speeding. The call has to go out at the right level of emergency ("blue") and they have to have sirens and lights on in order to exceed the limit. If they cannot prove all of this then the driver will get fined.
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Old 14.08.2012, 15:50
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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There's a redlight camera just under my balcony, and I saw an ambulance get flashed last night. I wonder which poor sucker will pay that fine
Now we know why it costs an arm and a leg to call an ambulance.
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Old 14.08.2012, 18:18
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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Most two lane roads here are wide enough to fit 3 or 4 vehicles side by side without anyone having to go off the tarmac. And if not, then you're not supposed to go off road and just keep on driving - slow down or stop at the side of the road (onto the sidewalk, grass, field, etc) to make room for the emergency vehicle, then continue.
Most? Maybe where you live. Most here have steep banks down into farmland, or totally undrivable/pull-offable road edges.

Stop at the side of the road? You`re driving on an 80km road with other traffic all doing the same speed, and up comes an emergency vehicle. I pull over and stop?... Again ... where? Tis not always possible. Of course I would slow down to allow the E/V to overtake.

Anyway, tis a good question, and something to work over in my mind - should I be caught in that situation.

I`ve often contemplated the "avoiding a head-on collision" scenario - scary, very scary considering our roads. One would end up with a smashed-up car in a farmland - while the offensive oncoming driver has whizzed off into the distance.
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Old 14.08.2012, 18:31
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Re: Pulling over for emergency vehicles.

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My wife, who works in an emergency ward, has told me of the details of this. Each month a bill comes to the hospital with the times of all of the infringements. They then have to print out all of the cases that are relevant to prove there was a need for speeding. The call has to go out at the right level of emergency ("blue") and they have to have sirens and lights on in order to exceed the limit. If they cannot prove all of this then the driver will get fined.
I've heard the same as well. My brother knows a police officer and apparently every time they get flashed, they need to justify why they needed to speed. If the reason isn't good enough, they get penalised. Apparently a colleague of his lost his license because he was speeding to a fire...

I think emergency services have enough to worry about than also needing to evaluate if the emergency is urgent enough to risk getting a fine.
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