Drivers, clear a path for rescue vehicles

Police Headquarters Münster - Accident prevention


Any driver can be involved in an accident. For the rest of the traffic, this usually means traffic jam, blocked motorways and waiting.
For the victim(s) now every minute counts. The first requirement for the waiting traffic is to clear a path for the rescue vehicles, so that the rescue workers can advance as quickly as possible to the place of the accident, to save lives, to take care of injured persons or to extinguish fires.

Unfortunately, valuable seconds, which can decide life and death are often lost due to the other traffic forming the rescue path in the wrong way or not at all.
However, even indirectly involved parties do benefit from the correctly formed path for rescue vehicles, since the site of the accident can be cleared more quickly and traffic can resume the journey faster.
Christoph Becker, Director of Traffic, Traffic Accident Prevention at the Police Department of Münster, provides information on the correct behavior during traffic jams and the formation of the life-saving path for emergency vehicles.


Legal regulations

As soon as vehicles on highways and on roads outside of urban areas with at least two lanes for one direction are significantly slowing down or stopping, these vehicles have to form a path by moving to the extreme left lane and the right lane and make way for police and emergency vehicles.

Heavy-load traffic should stop on the right side of the rescue lane, as a left-hand stop often makes it difficult for large rescue and recovery vehicles to pass through.
Allow other drivers who have steered to the left to thread back into the right lane.


This is how drivers behave correctly in the event of a traffic jam or significant slowdown on the motorway:

  • If there is a traffic jam / stopped traffic, create a free path for rescue vehicles.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane change when approaching a traffic jam.
  • Switch on the hazard warning system to warn the following traffic.
  • Keep the escape path free until the situation has cleared up.
  • Stay with your vehicles and turn on traffic warning.
  • Never try to make a u-turn with the vehicle. You will become a ghost-driver and endanger others and and yourself!
  • If police initiate an organized backup or turn, be sure to follow their instructions.
  • Pay attention to special regulations in particularly when passing narrow construction sites.

If you are in the opposite lane, do not slow down, but keep driving at your existing speed. Often, people who are traveling in the opposite direction are undertaking risky driving maneuvers or decelerations to get a glimpse of the accident, which seriously endangers the traffic that follows.

Christoph Becker

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