IN AN emergency, it is vital that the police, ambulance or fire service are able to get to the incident as quickly as possible.

Minutes can seem like an eternity to the person or people who are injured or in danger, and time lost getting to them could mean the difference between life and death.

Emergency vehicles respond to urgent calls every day, and one of the biggest problems they face can be other drivers who panic at the sight of blue lights and the sound of sirens.

Some drivers are so keen to let the vehicle pass that they pull over in the wrong place, while others don’t give way at all.

It is important to stay calm, assess your situation and decide on the best place to pull over safely to let the vehicles pass, Dyfed-Powys Police has said.

There are a few simple tips to help emergency services get to the scene faster and safer:

  1. When you hear sirens, stay calm and alert, and avoid being distracted. Keep the noise down, continue to look and listen and be prepared for more than one emergency vehicle.
  2. If you can't see the vehicle, other drivers’ reactions such as slowing down or pulling over might indicate which direction it is coming from.
  3. When you see the flashing lights in your rear view mirror, scan the road front and sideways, and try to anticipate which route the driver of the emergency vehicle will take. If you're on a long road with no turnings ahead, it's sensible to assume that the emergency driver wishes to drive straight on and get past you.
  4. You should not slam on your brakes or stop suddenly, blocking the road or a junction. Look for a safe area to pull over, and indicate to let other drivers and the emergency vehicle driver know you intend to pull over.
  5. Wait for the emergency vehicle to pass and check if there are any more coming. Make sure the way is clear, and signal before merging back into traffic.

Emergency Vehicles and Driving situations:

Motorway: The emergency services will use the hard shoulder if all lanes are blocked, so don't drive onto it or block it. Pull over to the inside lane if possible and wait for the emergency vehicle to pass. Watch out for more than one emergency vehicle. They could be travelling to a road traffic accident, so be aware that you might be approaching the incident.

Accident scene: When passing an accident, don’t be distracted or slow down unnecessarily (for example if an accident is on the other side of a dual carriageway). This could cause another accident.

One-way street: If you are travelling along a one-way street or a two-way road where the outside lane is congested, it would be proper to continue at a reasonable speed, letting the emergency vehicle follow you until it is clear and safe for you to pull over.

Hills and blind bends: Don't stop on the brow of a hill or blind bend. This would likely put the emergency vehicle driver in further jeopardy.

Stopped or parked emergency vehicle: If you see an emergency vehicle on stop, slow down and continue with caution, giving them a wide berth.

Junctions: Approaching vehicles from all directions must give way to an emergency vehicle until it passes through the junction. Never block the junction as this could impede the emergency vehicle.

At traffic lights: Approaching vehicles from all directions must give way to an emergency vehicle until it passes through the traffic lights. If you are stopped at a red light, with an emergency vehicle behind who wants to get past, you cannot legally advance through the light. You should wait until the lights turn green, continue forward and pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, letting the emergency vehicle pass you.

Box junctions: If you are stopped at a box junction, with an emergency vehicle behind who wants to get past and his way is blocked by your vehicle, you cannot legally enter the box junction until it is your turn.

Bus lanes: If you enter a bus lane to let an emergency vehicle past, you are liable to a fixed penalty fine.