SCDF emergency vehicle drivers are now allowed to drive past red lights.
They can also make “illegal” U-turns, or U-turns at non-designated junctions.
It is hoped that these new rulings will hasten the response times of SCDF paramedics and firefighters.
Hopefully, these may lead to more lives saved.
Now, for newbie drivers the sight of SCDF emergency vehicles “violating” traffic rules may seem scary.
We’ve come up with a few tips to help you get used to their presence.
Listen for sirens!
This tip is damn obvious, but some drivers may be too distracted to actually hear sirens wailing.
Sometimes, SCDF emergency vehicles have their lights flashing, but no siren is heard.
For newly licensed drivers, keep your music volume at a moderate level.
Try to minimise the distractions in your car.
For instance, don’t mount your smartphone on the dashboard (even if it’s legal) as tapping on it is a distraction.
Ensure that any children or infants are secured in the proper seats.
You don’t want them fussing about and distracting you from the road.
Keep scanning the road ahead and your mirrors.
Again, this is just common sense. But newbie drivers may not have this habit yet.
Make sure that you glance at your rear view and wing mirrors every so often.
You won’t see everything, but it’s better than just looking straight ahead.
This is how you’ll spot SCDF emergency vehicles, even before you hear their sirens.
Move to a slower lane as soon as it is safe to do so.
SCDF emergency vehicles will always try to take the overtaking lane.
This is exactly why motorists should avoid using the rightmost lane, except to (you guessed it) overtake.
When you see an SCDF emergency vehicle coming up, even from a distance, start filtering left.
This helps hasten its progress.
All too often, we see cars only moving out of the way only as the SCDF ambulance moves in behind them.
When this happens, the SCDF emergency vehicles’ momentum is disrupted.
Time is being wasted. Remember, somebody’s life is on the line!
Do not tailgate SCDF emergency vehicles!
We’ve all spotted unscrupulous motorists tailing emergency vehicles with flashing lights and wailing sirens.
They do this because their own progress is quicker, as the decent motorists all give way.
Tailgating is dangerous. If the emergency vehicle has to suddenly brake, you risk crashing into it.
Approach junctions carefully if you see SCDF emergency vehicles waiting to cross or turn.
You see an SCDF ambulance or SCDF fire engine stopped at the junction on your left because the light in front of it is red.
The light in your direction is green.
But given the new rulings, the SCDF emergency vehicle is allowed to run the red light.
Obviously, the driver will take extra care and make sure the junction is clear.
He or she will not just drive across.
If you can safely stop to let them by, do so!
Do not follow ambulances and fire engines when they drive past red lights!
This is a no-brainer. While the Civil Defence is allowed to, regular drivers are not.
The same goes for when they make U-turns at non-designated junctions.
Do not follow suit!
If you are caught, you will be punished.
You will not be able to argue “The ambulance/fire engine was also doing it!”