Flemish motorists unsure how to react to sirens and lights

Summary

According to a survey conducted by motoring organisation VAB, most motorists in Flanders don’t know when they are required to yield to emergency vehicles

Blues and twos

Flemish motorists are not clear on how to react to emergency vehicles using sirens and flashing lights, according to a survey carried out by the motoring organisation VAB. “The results are alarming and confirm the findings of the drivers of emergency vehicles,” the organisation said.

The survey of 2,000 drivers was inspired by complaints from drivers of priority vehicles – ambulances, fire brigade and police – that people do not react in the correct way to their presence. Those faulty reactions not only hinder the progress of emergency vehicles, they can place other road users in danger.

For example, 82% of those polled were unaware of the difference between an emergency vehicle with blue lights in operation and one operating what insiders call “blues and twos”: blue lights and a two-tone siren simultaneously. By law, only the latter is considered a priority vehicle, to which all other traffic on the road must yield. 

VAB issued its own advice: take no unusual evasive action, signal your manoeuvre with indicators, don’t do anything to endanger yourself or other drivers (going through a red light to make way for the priority vehicle, for instance), and be aware that one priority vehicle may be followed by others.

VAB has launched a test for drivers on its website. 

Traffic in Flanders

Thousands of commuters and foreigners pass through Brussels and Flanders each day, and the two regions have suffered from heavily congested traffic and long and frequent traffic jams for years – with no end seemingly in sight.
Record - According to the 2013 report from traffic information platform Inrix, Brussels and Antwerp have the most traffic congestion of any city in Europe and North America.
Calendar - October is the worst month of the year for traffic jams.
Causes - Year after year, heavy snowfall and railway strikes lead to monster traffic jams. Heavy congestion, infrastructure works and multi-lane accidents cause the more ordinary daily tailbacks.
1 285

largest area covered in traffic ever recorded in Belgium in kilometres

70

time Antwerp drivers spend in gridlock per year in hours

10 000

traffic diversions in Flanders per year