Simple overtaking question leads to myriad of responses

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

Motorists have been left confused by the details after being confronted with a quiz asking drivers what they should do when passing a common site on Queensland roads.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads for Queensland posted a question on Facebook asking drivers what to do when passing a stationary ambulance with flashing lights.

“The orange car is driving past an ambulance that is stopped on the roadside, helping another driver. What should the orange car do?”

Some users insisted they would do nothing as the emergency vehicle was stationary.

“You don't want to cause another accident by being nosey and checking them out,” one person responded.

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

The majority of people seemed to be in the know and suggested slowing down.

“Slow down on speed of 25km/h when passing stationery emergency vehicle with flashing lights,” one user commented.

“Slow down to 40km/h and move to the right hand lane when safe to do so,” another suggested.

“Being it's in a 100km/h zone, if it's busy traffic, slow down to 60km/h. If you are able to do so safely, merge lanes,” a person added.

The debate didn’t end when the QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads revealed that although drivers should be slowing down in the situation, there was no required speed in the state.

“If it's safe to do so, the driver of the orange car should move over and slow down,” it said.

Different road rules in different states

The transport body said that although NSW had introduced a law requiring motorists to slow down to a speed of 40km/h when passing emergency vehicles with flashing lights in September, it wasn’t an Australia wide rule.

“In QLD there's no requirement to slow down to 40km/h or any other specific speed but you are expected to slow down and move over as long as it's safe,” it said.

The response raised concerns over state specific road rules that could see drivers fined if they weren’t up to speed with the local laws.

“It would be helpful if such road rules were the same in every state. I’m often in the dark about road rules each time I travel interstate,” one person posted.

In NSW and Western Australia drivers are required to slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights. However in South Australia the speed limit reduces to 25km/h.

The QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads agreed that different state based rules can be frustrating but they must be followed.

“The thing is, slow down move over laws can be pretty complex due to the varying road environments they apply to—so jurisdictions have introduced laws that meet their own specific needs,” it said.

Above all, the body suggested using common sense when it came to passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights.

“Incident response workers have got our backs in an emergency—so let's have their backs too and give them the room they need to work safely!”

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