modern fire truck

Traffic Accident With Emergency Vehicle: What To Do?

June 26, 2024

Let's face it - nobody wants to be involved in a traffic accident, especially not with an emergency vehicle. But if it happens, you need to know how to handle it. So, let's break down what you should do if you find yourself in this sticky situation on UK roads.

What are Emergency Vehicles?

First things first, we need to understand what we're dealing with. Emergency vehicles aren't just any old cars with flashy lights:

Different Types of Emergency Vehicles

In the UK, we're talking about police cars, fire engines, ambulances, and even coastguard vehicles. These are the folks rushing to save lives and keep us safe.

Recognise Emergency Lights and Sirens

You've seen them - those blue flashing lights and heard those wailing sirens; they're not just for show. When you see or hear them, it means someone needs help urgently. 

Importance of Yielding to Emergency Vehicles

Look, we all have places to be, but when an emergency vehicle needs to get through, it's our job to make way; it could be the difference between life and death for someone.

Immediate Actions After the Accident

Okay, so the worst has happened. You've had a collision with an emergency vehicle. Don't panic. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Stop your vehicle immediately. It's the law, and it's the right thing to do.
  2. Turn off your engine and switch on your hazard lights.
  3. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Safety first, always.
  4. If it's safe to do so, get out of your vehicle. But be careful - there might be other traffic around.

Remember, if you're feeling shaken up (and who wouldn't be?), you might want to consider seeking compensation for accident trauma. PTSD after an accident is a real thing, and you shouldn't ignore it.

Protocol for Interactions with Emergency Responders

Now, you might be dealing with some pretty stressed-out emergency responders. Here's how to handle it:

Stay Calm and Cooperative

They're professionals, but they're also human. Be polite, stay calm, and follow their instructions.

Provide Accurate Information

Tell them exactly what happened - don't embellish, don't downplay. Just the facts.

Don't Admit Fault

Even if you think you might be to blame, don't say it. Leave that for the insurance companies and lawyers to figure out. 

Legal Considerations

Speaking of lawyers, there are some legal bits you need to know:

Duty of Care

Both you and the emergency vehicle driver have a duty of care on the road. Yes, they have some extra privileges, but they're not above the law.

Potential Liabilities

hand pointing index finger

Depending on the circumstances, either party could be held liable. It's not always cut and dry.

Insurance Implications

Your insurance company needs to know about this accident, pronto. Don't try to handle it on your own.

Documenting the Accident

Trust me, you'll thank yourself later for doing this:

Take Photos

If it's safe, snap some pictures of the scene, the damage, and any relevant road signs or signals.

Gather Witness Information

If anyone saw what happened, get their contact details. Their account could be crucial.

Note Down Details

Write down everything you can remember as soon as possible. Our memories can play tricks on us, especially in stressful situations.

Reporting the Accident

  • Contact the Police: Even if the accident involved a police vehicle, you still need to report it. Call the non-emergency number unless there are injuries.
  • Inform Your Insurance Company: Give them a ring as soon as you can. They'll guide you through the next steps.
  • Keep Records: Hold onto any paperwork related to the accident. You might need it later.

Seeking Legal Advice

Sometimes, these situations can get complicated. If you're feeling overwhelmed or unsure about your rights, it might be time to call in the experts.

When to Consult a Lawyer

If there are disputes about fault, significant injuries, or if you're facing charges, get legal help.

Choosing the Right Legal Support

Look for solicitors who specialise in traffic accidents. And if you've been in a motorcycle accident, seek out motorcycle accident claim support from experts who understand the unique challenges of these cases. 

The Bottom Line

Remember, being in an accident with an emergency vehicle doesn't automatically mean you're at fault. These situations are complex, and it's important to protect your rights while also respecting the crucial work of our emergency services.

Stay safe out there on the roads, and if the worst happens, now you know how to handle it. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to navigating the aftermath of a traffic accident.