Drivers on Belgian motorways will have a new driving habit to adopt as authorities introduce spontaneous emergency assistance lanes in efforts to streamline emergency response in the case of an accident.
The new lanes will act as a fast-track to emergency response vehicles and will be added to the country’s motorways from 1 October.
The new regulation will be based off laws which require drivers on the road to move over and if possible to change lanes to create room for an emergency response vehicle to access the site of an accident.
Currently, if an accident takes place in a Belgian motorway, ambulances, fire engines and other medical assistance vehicles have to weave their way through traffic, with the all-too-common traffic jams delaying their vital response even further.
In some areas, the vehicles could use the emergency stop lanes, meant for drivers whose vehicle breaks down while on the road, as well as motorway or rest stop area exits.
The new regulations will apply mainly to motorways but will also to other multi-lane and frequently busy roads, such as Brussels’ Rue de La Loi.
The move will align Belgian roads with other motorways in countries such as France, Germany and Austria, where move over laws and emergency lanes are a common road safety manoeuvre.
To create an emergency lane, drivers on a road with two or more lanes drivers are required to adopt the following response in the case of an accident: those driving on the left lane should move as far left as possible while those on the middle and right lanes should move as much as they can to the right.
The cars on the extreme-right lane are only allowed to use any potential emergency stop lanes if the emergency lane created by drivers’ move over manoeuvres is still to narrow to allow an emergency response vehicle to pass safely through.