Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 12:43 UK

Ambulances 'delayed by lorries'

Ambulance crews in the north-east of England are urging other drivers to be more aware after concerns vehicles on emergency call-outs are being delayed.

The North East Ambulance Service is calling on lorry drivers and motorists to pay attention to its vehicles and is giving guidance to help them.

Motorists are not legally obliged to move out of the way, but the service hopes raising awareness will help.

It said it experienced problems with drivers on most calls.

Ambulance driver Linsey Gittins said one of the main problems was with lorry drivers.

'On auto-pilot'

She told BBC Newcastle: "We find a lot of long distance lorry drivers and wagon drivers they switch off if you like and they are on auto-pilot.

"And all of a sudden this vehicle comes along with blue lights, but they are still in their tootling down the road or stuck in traffic mode.

"What they need to do is be alert, be aware that things can change, constantly check the mirrors and then they would be able to move in.

"A lot of the time when we are sitting behind them it's because they haven't seen us."

The advice from the ambulance service to drivers includes not panicking and stopping suddenly.

It is urging drivers not to be distracted by ambulances with blue lights and sirens on and look out for other drivers and pedestrians.

It says drivers should pull over if there is a safe place to do so and if not to continue until there is one.

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