Cleaning the ‘way of life’ is mandatory in several European countries. In the event of a traffic jam, drivers must make a free stop for emergency services on roads with two or more lanes. But how exactly does that work?
The creation of a rescue system is mandatory in countries such as Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In the event of an emergency, emergency services do not drive on the hard shoulder like here, but through traffic. This principle is also used by Switzerland and Slovenia, although it is not (yet) mandatory there.
Cars must drive in the left lane close to the median when traffic jams occur, while cars in all other lanes must turn right to make room. Below we list the most important questions about the recovery method:
1. On which roads should I create an escape route?
On all roads, whether carriageways or other roads, even in built-up areas, as long as there are at least two lanes in the following direction.
2. When will I have to swerve to the side to create an escape route?
Once the traffic starts, even if there is no emergency vehicle approaching from behind at the time.
3. Which emergency vehicles are allowed to use the evacuation route?
The escape route can be used by all emergency vehicles so that they can quickly reach the scene of the accident (police, fire engines, ambulance). These vehicles must have blue lights and a siren, but they are not required to use them all the time.
4. How can I be sure to leave enough room for an escape route?
Everything depends on the width of the lanes, the car and those driving around you. In most cases, it is enough to turn sideways into your lane. However, if an emergency vehicle arrives that does not have sufficient clearance, you will need to pull over slightly.
5. Can I use an emergency lane to create an escape route?
No, mainly because some vehicles, such as tow trucks, must pass for free on these emergency lanes. This also applies to special vehicle routes for public transport, for example. They are not part of the road. If an emergency vehicle with blue lights and siren is approaching from behind and there is not enough room to get into the emergency lane, you may have no other choice. In that case, you must always be careful not to endanger existing road users.
6. Can I use an escape route while riding a motorcycle?
If you drive your motorcycle under the conditions specified in the Highway Code (maximum speed of 50 km/h and a maximum speed difference of 20 km/h compared to other vehicles), you can use the emergency lane in Belgium, but only in continuation . the condition that there is no auxiliary vehicle approaching from behind. If it does, you must go immediately to the side to allow free passage.
7. Are car manufacturers responding to this situation?
Yes, some car manufacturers already have electronics in their products that help create an escape route. For example, BMW has introduced a function on the BMW 5 Series and 6 Series where the car automatically moves to the side to create an emergency lane in countries where this is mandatory.
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