When is it legal to drive through a red traffic light?
How many times have you been stuck in traffic only to hear an ambulance or police car’s sirens behind you? What should you do? How can you help? When is it legal to drive through a red traffic light? You don’t want to break the law.
Did you know that the law in NSW allows you to drive onto the wrong side of the road or drive through a red traffic light to get out of the way of an emergency vehicle? But only if it is safe to do so. Giving way to emergency vehicles should always be done with the utmost care and with the safety of yourself and all other road users as a priority.
Rule 78 of the NSW Road Rules provides:
“(2) If a driver is in the path of an approaching police or emergency vehicle that is displaying a flashing blue or red light (whether or not it is also displaying other lights) or sounding an alarm, the driver must move out of the path of the vehicle as soon as the driver can do so safely.
(3) This rule applies to the driver despite any other rule of these Rules.”
It is also your duty to “give way to a police or emergency vehicle that is displaying a flashing blue or red light (whether or not it is also displaying other lights) or sounding an alarm” (Rule 79).
The NSW Road Rules 2014 can be found here
The road rules applicable in NSW are effectively the same as the model rules proposed by the National Transport Commission but has some additional rules, such as Rule 78-1 (introduced in 01 September 2018) that includes:
“(2) A driver must not drive past, at a speed exceeding 40 kilometres per hour, a stationary emergency response vehicle on a road that is displaying a flashing blue or red light.”
This information is general only and is not a substitute for proper legal advice.
If you have a traffic fine or have been charged with an offence we can refer you to an expert solicitor that acts in relation to police matters, please contact Craig Pryor at McKillop Legal on (02) 9521 2455 or email email@example.com to discuss your needs.