Since 2012, several countries in the European Union including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Slovenia have passed a law requiring vehicles in a traffic jam on a highway to move the extreme left- or right-side to create a ‘virtual emergency lane’ that’s wide enough for emergency services vehicles to drive thru at speed.
Called the Rettungsgasse (emergency corridor) in German, the law applies irrespective of whether an emergency vehicle is passing through or not. The idea is to create a clear path for emergency services vehicles that stretches well ahead of the traffic queue, rather than waiting for drivers to react to the sound of a siren.
As you can see from the video below, Rettungsgasse the significantly speeds up the travel time of the police car.
Still, adherence to the law is not always consistent, at least not by German standards, which riles up the policeman in this video. Throughout the 8-minute long video, he had stopped 5 times to reprimand drivers who were blocking his way.
There was even an instance when he had to get down from his Polizei Mercedes-Benz E-Class to reprimand the driver of a Hyundai i10, who was trying to switch lanes.
After dealing with the Hyundai, he had to deal with a similar antic from a Skoda Roomster. We don’t speak German, but the agitated policeman can be heard saying “Rettungsgasse” repeatedly, followed by what sounds like "mein Gott."
Meanwhile in Malaysia, this is what our firefighters and ambulance drivers face all the time. Most Malaysian drivers seem to think that just because an ambulance or a fire truck isn’t directly behind them, they are not obliged to move aside. Well this is exactly why nobody can move anywhere to give way to emergency services vehicles.
So please, if you see an ambulance or a fire truck, or a police car that’s struggling its way through traffic, even if it’s on another lane, move aside, so the vehicle next to you has room to move.