I thought the law stated that drivers must move as far left as possible to allow emergency vehicles clear passage. Recently on the Southern Motorway I saw a fire truck in my rear view mirror, with lights flashing and siren blaring. I immediately moved into the left lane, but no other vehicles did. The fire truck also moved into the left lane and stayed there. I didn't know what to do next so I pulled over on to the shoulder. The fire truck eventually moved to the centre lane. What does the law say we should do, and what should emergency vehicles do?
Sheryl Cunningham, Auckland.
The road-user rules say that you must make way for an emergency vehicle displaying blue or red beacon or beacons, by stopping if necessary, as soon as you safely can. This may not necessarily mean pulling over to the left, though this is probably the instinctive reaction, but you must slow down and allow the vehicle to pass.
Permitted speed limits for Fire Service vehicles on urgent Fire Service business are quite restrictive, and I'm guessing that other emergency vehicles have similar restraints.
On the open road, where the speed limit is 100km/h - and this applies to motorways as well - operational vehicles, apart from Type 5, may travel at 105km/h, or 130km/h for cars.
The speed limit for Type 5 vehicles is 90km/h.
In a 50 km/h zone, operational vehicles may travel at 75km/h (the normal speed limit applies for Type 5s).
At intersections controlled by lights, stop or give-way signs, vehicles must slow to 10km/h and stop if necessary.
They may go through the intersection at no more than 20 km/h if the way is clear and warning devices are operating.
And so it goes on. Drivers must always drive to the conditions and within the limits of their skills, and all vehicle occupants must wear seat belts.
Is it legal to get into or out of a car while waiting at the traffic lights? Having been a victim of such a circumstance while riding my bike, I would like to be clear on this. I know that you are not allowed to from a bus.
Hans Bakker, Auckland.
The closest I can get to this is the road-user rule 7.2, which states that a person must not cause a hazard to any person by opening or closing the door of a motor vehicle, or by leaving the door of a motor vehicle open.
If anyone has more enlightening information about this, I would be delighted to hear it.
* And following on from correspondent Julia Cameron's rude awakening by a light plane at 4am one day, reader Alan Thrower suggests that if this is not a regular occurrence, it might be that it was a medevac (emergency medical evacuation) flight, transferring a sick or injured person from one place to another.
Thanks for that, Mr Thrower.