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'Where did this driver get his license?' Car stops along expressway to let ambulance pass, sparks online debate

'Where did this driver get his license?' Car stops along expressway to let ambulance pass, sparks online debate
The white BMW came to a complete stop at the rightmost lane of the BKE to let an ambulance overtake it.
PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Eugene Ng

Giving way to emergency vehicles on the road is common courtesy, but one driver's rather unconventional means of doing so divided netizens.

Dashcam camera footage from the incident, which took place at around 5.30pm on Wednesday (May 15), was posted to Facebook Group Complaint Singapore in the same evening with the caption "Is this how you give way to emergency vehicles?".

The footage shows a white BMW coming to a stop on the rightmost lane of the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) as an ambulance approaches from behind.

Other cars in front of the ambulance have seemingly switched to the next lane and a black car is seen slowing down to put some distance between itself and the white BMW, supposedly to allow the BMW to switch to its lane.

However, the BMW didn't move, forcing the black car to stop to maintain its distance, which stunted the flow of traffic along the BKE and caused some congestion.

The ambulance also slowed down as it approached the white BMW, as if unsure what was happening. Shortly afterwards, it overtook the white BMW and drove off.

Driver had good intentions

Some netizens who came across the footage believe that the BMW driver's actions were inconsiderate as it caused the ambulance to slow down during an emergency.

A Facebook user commented: "Stopping in the first lane? Where did this driver get his license?"

"Trying to do the right thing using the wrong way," said another netizen.

On the other hand, some pointed out that this is common practice in other countries and the driver likely had good intentions.

One netizen explained: "Quite a common practice in Europe for giving way to emergency vehicles. [Those on the] left keep left, [those on the] right keep right and there'll be enough space to create a "emergency lane" for the ambulance to pass."

"BMW went so close to the right barrier. You can see he's really trying to give way to the ambulance... although there are better ways like changing lanes," said one commenter on YouTube.

Another netizen said: "Benefit of the doubt, I think he really was genuinely trying to give way."

A few comments also added that it was the black car which had "boxed in" the ambulance by failing to give it ample space to overtake the white BMW and caused it to slow down.

According to Singapore Statues Online, drivers must give way upon hearing the siren or seeing the flashing lights of any emergency vehicle.

They are required to check the direction of the oncoming emergency vehicle and give way by signalling early and filtering towards the left if it is safe, not waiting until the last minute to do so.

If unable to filter to the left safely, drivers should slow down to let the emergency vehicle overtake them.

Drivers should not speed up to block an overtaking emergency vehicle or try to overtake or tailgate an emergency vehicle as this can put themselves and other road users in danger.

They should also not break the law to give way to an emergency vehicle, like driving through a red light for instance.

Failure to give way to an emergency vehicle carries a penalty of four demerit points and a $150 or $200 fine depending on the size of the vehicle according to the Singapore Police Force website.

ALSO READ: 'This isn't your country': Singapore-registered Mercedes draws flak for seemingly not giving way to Malaysia ambulance

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