Slow down, move over and give space
You must slow down when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing blue/red lights, or tow trucks and breakdown assistance vehicles with flashing yellow lights. This rule improves safety for everyone, including the emergency workers on the road and the people they're helping.
On higher speed roads with a speed limit of 90km/h or more, you must slow down safely to a speed that's reasonable for the circumstances. You must also leave enough space between your vehicle and the stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle with flashing lights. This means you may need to change lanes, if it's safe to do so.
You must also give way to any person on foot near these stationary vehicles with flashing lights. You must not increase your speed until you're safely past all the vehicles and people involved.
This rule does not apply if a stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle with flashing lights is on the opposite side of a divided road separated by a median strip.
Roads with a speed limit of 90km/h or more
The rule applies on all roads, including motorways, highways and freeways. Use your judgment and slow down to a reasonable speed. Remember, anyone working on or around the road is vulnerable, especially on high speed roads.
Reduce your speed if:
- you clearly see a stationary vehicle with flashing lights
- the stationary vehicle is close to moving traffic with little space available
- there are pedestrians moving on the road near the incident or breakdown
Give way to emergency vehicles
When you hear a siren or see the flashing blue/red lights of an approaching emergency vehicle, you must:
- Keep clear of the emergency vehicle. If you're in the way of an emergency vehicle, you must move out of the way as soon as you can safely do so. Generally, you should pull over to the left. If possible, move into the left lane, road shoulder or breakdown lane. Drivers on both sides of the road should be prepared to move out of the way of approaching emergency vehicles.
- Give way to the emergency vehicle. If you're stopped you must remain stopped until it's safe to proceed, even if the traffic light is green. If you’re not stopped, you must slow down and stop if necessary to avoid a collision with the emergency vehicle.
Emergency vehicles travelling with audible sirens or flashing lights are responding to urgent situations and aren't required to follow road rules, as long as it's safe for them to do so.
You should always be extra cautious when you see flashing lights or hear sirens.
Stay safe on the road
- Always activate your hazard lights (and parking lights in poor visibility).
- Find a safe spot to pull over, such as a hard shoulder or breakdown lane.
- Position your vehicle as far away from other traffic as possible.
- Stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt on and call roadside assistance.
- If you have to get out of your vehicle, always check for traffic - leave your vehicle from the safest side, away from the traffic, especially at night.
- Try to avoid crossing the road.
- Stand clear of the road and move behind a safety barrier if it is safe to do so.
- Do not attempt to change a tyre unless it is safe to do so. If possible, drive on a flat tyre to a safe spot away from traffic.
Before you help at a breakdown, find a safe spot to pull over and avoid traffic when you leave your vehicle.
After a crash
What to do
- Stop immediately. If possible, ensure you are in a safe position away from traffic.
- Dial Triple Zero (000) for police or emergency services if:
- Anyone is injured or trapped
- Police are needed to direct traffic or deal with hazards
- Any drivers appear affected by alcohol or other drugs
- A bus or truck needs to be towed away
- Anyone involved in the crash fails to exchange details.
- From some digital mobile phones you may need to dial 112, while people with hearing or speech impairment should dial 106 to connect to a text-based relay service.
- Use headlights, indicator lights or hazard lights to warn other drivers, and to light up the scene if it is dark.
- If possible send someone to warn oncoming drivers.
- If it is safe to do do, clear the road of broken glass and debris.
The NSW Police Force website answers common questions for people involved in crashes.