Hastings Direct.

Important - Coronavirus update

In line with guidance from the Government and to help look after our colleagues, we now have a limited number of staff in the office. During this time, we're committed to supporting you in the best way we can. We'll be here throughout to keep you updated so make sure to check back regularly.

  • At this time, please help us to prioritise essential calls by using our online services.
    • If you're a car customer you can use MyAccount or the app to make policy changes or payments, including changing your payment date, checking your documents or to report or track a claim (MyAccount only).
    • If you're a home, bike or van customer, or for any customers wishing to cancel their insurance, please use our online forms.
  • If you do phone, we will only be able to deal with your query if:
    • You're in a vulnerable situation or an NHS or frontline health care worker who can't easily access our online services, or
    • You are worried about making future payments, or
    • Your policy is due to renew in less than a week and you're concerned the policy is no longer suitable for you, or
    • You need to make a claim and your vehicle is un-driveable or if you need urgent roadside assistance.
  • For all other queries, including buying a new policy, please first read our Coronavirus FAQs for the latest advice and how to use our online services.
  • Our opening hours have changed to: Monday to Friday 9am - 6pm, Saturday 10am - 2pm and Sunday Closed. If do you need to call us, please bear with us as it may take us longer to answer your call. We're sorry for any inconvenience this causes you.

Read our Coronavirus FAQs

Sharing the road with emergency vehicles

An ambulance driving with blue lights flashing.

All drivers know they should give way when they hear or see flashing lights approaching them. Whether these lights are on a fire engine, ambulance or police car, a fast response from drivers helps the emergency vehicle get to the incident as quickly as possible.

But it's not always the best idea to pull over exactly where you are. In fact, if you stop in the wrong place and you could end up with a hefty fine – which could seem unfair when all you're trying to do is help.

This guide will keep you on the right side of the law when dealing with emergency vehicles.

How not to react

It's not always safe (or legal) to pull over the moment we spot an emergency vehicle approaching. As an article in the Express explains, if you run a red light or enter a bus lane when moving out of the way for an ambulance or police car, you could get fined.

The maximum fine you can get for running a red light is £1,000 plus six penalty points. But it's more likely you'll receive a £60 on-the-spot fine and three points.

Entering a bus lane could see you paying a £90 fine, or £45 if you pay it within two weeks.

What the Highway Code says

The Highway Code states drivers must 'look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officers and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights.'

It shares an important piece of advice: 'do not panic.' In the heat of the moment, some drivers slam on their brakes the second they hear or see flashing lights, but all that's doing is creating another obstacle for the emergency vehicles to navigate around.

If you need to pull over, the Highway Code says you should 'consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass', while abiding by all traffic signs.

You should pull over to the side of the road if necessary, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, on a bend or a narrow part of the road. Also avoid mounting the kerb or braking harshly as you approach a junction or roundabout, or making a move that may endanger you, your passengers or other road users.

The best thing to do

When you hear or see an emergency vehicle (whichever comes first), one of the first things to do is check your mirrors to gauge their speed and see what the traffic behind you is doing – this will give you a good indication of where the vehicle is heading.

Doing this should give you plenty of time to pull up next to the kerb to let them pass safely. If it's not safe (or legal) to pull to the side, continue driving at the same speed until you find a suitable spot. You might want to switch on your left indicator to make the driver of the emergency vehicle aware you've noticed them.

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