Blue flashing lights and sirens on an emergency vehicles often cause other drivers to do strange and crazy things. Over the years I have developed my own classification system for different drivers.
THE KERB CRUNCHER
Upon seeing blue lights in their rear view mirror, this driver mounts the kerb or verge, regardless of the capability of their vehicle for off-road pursuits, and often to the horror of a passing pedestrian.
This driver pootles along without a care in the world until a big noisy police car appears from behind them. This will result in a ‘twitch of recognition’ which essentially is a reflex action involving a sharp turn of the steering wheel to the left, combined with the application of the brakes, causing the car to come to an abrupt halt. Often accompanied with a look of panic or shock.
A motorist who neither stops to pull over, nor maintains a reasonable speed. These are the most awkward and infuriating to pass because they gradually slow down, or ease off the gas a little and drift into a crawl, usually on a left hand bend or the brow of a hill, or directly opposite a vehicle coming the other way
Similar to the Twitcher but without the steering element. When glancing in their rear view mirror the driver will ”stamp” on the brake pedal, bringing the car to an immediate halt, usually in the middle of the road. Keeps the police driver on their toes and tests their reflexes to the limit.
No amount of blue strobe lights, siren changes, headlight flashing or gesticulating will wake this driver from their road slumber, nor deter them from their chosen course. Mirrors come as optional extras on their vehicles and many drive white vans.
A very distinctive driver who will see a car in front pull to the side of the road, not think to check behind, and overtake the car that has stopped, right into the path of the approaching police vehicle that will take evasive action. On occasion two of this species will meet at the same point, resulting multiple leapfrogging.
An indecisive and unpredictable motorist who can’t decide which way to go at the sight of a police car to the rear. A bit like a confused rabbit, darting left and right in a state of panic.
This particular driver exhibits a variety of different behaviours. Some will take the opportunity of a police vehicle passing by and use the gaps in the gaps created in the traffic for their own gain. Others will commit a wide range of traffic offences right under the nose of the passing police officers, in the knowledge that they probably won’t be stopped – although sometimes the police have the last laugh and will come knocking later on!
There is a serious point to this article. Drivers should be aware of their surroundings whilst on the road and be ready to react safely and sensibly when an emergency vehicle is approaching. There is an excellent video that gives guidance on how to react to emergency vehicles: