Road rule about crossing onto wrong side of road divides drivers

·4-min read

One road rule about giving way to emergency vehicles has floored some drivers when the state’s road and transport department revealed the answer to a tricky question.

Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads shared a photo on Facebook to see if people knew the road rules, asking people for their thoughts about if they were allowed to veer onto the wrong side of the road when making way for an emergency vehicle – like a police car or fire truck.

“A fire engine displaying flashing blue and red lights and sounding its alarm is approaching traffic,” the department asked.

“Is the green car allowed to cross over onto the wrong side of the road to give way to the emergency vehicle?”

Picture demonstrates a scenario where a car is moving into the wrong lane to allow for a fire truck to overtake.
Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads asked if motorists were allowed to veer into the wrong lane to allow for an emergency vehicle to overtake. Source: Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads/Facebook

In the comments, people were divided – some were saying “yes”, while others were adamant the correct answer was “no”.

“No. But I suppose it depends on how far to the right. If vehicles in left go as far to left as possible and vehicles in right lane hug centre line or just go over there would be ample room for Emergency Vehicles,” one person said.

“Everyone should be merging to the left lane and motorists already there should be letting the drivers in from the right lane,” another person, who also believed the answer was no, said.

However, the correct answer was in fact yes, you can go merge onto the wrong side of the road to allow for an emergency vehicle to get through traffic, if it is safe to do so.

“The law allows you to drive onto the wrong side of the road or drive through a red traffic light to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle if it is safe to do so,” the Queensland Government states on their website.

“However giving way to emergency vehicles should always be done with the utmost care and with the safety of yourself and all other road users as a priority.”

Pictured is a Melbourne Fire Brigade responding to call in Melbourne.
The question stumped some on Facebook, while many were certain you could not veer into the oncoming lane to give way. Source: Getty Images

Many people in the comments did answer the question correctly.

“Yes you can drive on opposite direction if safe to do so, I have done that once,” one person said.

“I went to the wrong side of the road, slowed down and put on my headlights for oncoming vehicles, once they passed I merged back into my lane.”

“Yes, as long as it is safe to do so, so if it was on a blind corner or in front of oncoming traffic then the answer would be no,” another said, to which the department replied saying this was a “perfect example”.

“If you can't move left safely (for example because the traffic has stalled in front of you) then you can stay where you are and let the emergency vehicle overtake you,” the department said.

“But the law allows you to drive onto the wrong side of the road (or even through a red traffic light) to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle—*as long as it's safe to do so*.”

However, one person argued it might be safer for the emergency vehicle to move into the wrong lane as opposed to a motorist.

“It would seem far more appropriate if the fire engine overtook on the ‘wrong’ side of the road ensuring the safety of other road users,” they said.

“Bit pointless if they're rushing to a rescue only to see the folks in the green car smash into an oncoming speeding truck who refused to yield their lane way position.”

A photo of a police car, one of the emergency vehicles you have to move out of the way for.
If you fail to move out of the way for an emergency vehicle, you can cop a fine and demerit points. Source: Getty Images

Fines for hampering emergency vehicles

In Queensland, if you fail to move out of the way for an emergency vehicle, or veer into its path, you can cop a fine and demerit points.

Moving into the path of an emergency vehicle which is displaying flashing lights or sounding their alarm comes with a fine of $311 and three demerit points, as does failing to get out of the way for an emergency vehicle.

The Facebook post proved to be useful for some who were not aware they could move into the wrong side of the road to give way.

“I find your comments interesting as I was always taught, when giving way to emergency vehicles I was to stay within the road rules and let the emergency vehicle ‘break’ the rules as allowed,” one person said.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.