Emergency corridor: How it works
The emergency corridor was introduced in several European countries to allow emergency vehicles to reach accident scenes through congestions and stop-and-go traffic without significant delays. While regulations vary between countries, some rules apply in any case: Help by forming a rescue corridor before traffic reaches complete standstill, keep enough space between cars to allow for some maneuvering, and don’t leave the car.
Not every country has introduced the concept of the emergency corridor, yet. Here is a detailed look at the rules in the countries that require or recommend it.
If you have more information about the emergency corridor and its regulation in these or other countries, please write us and we will add it here.
The Emergency Corridor was introduced in 1982 (§11 (2) StVO). Failing to participate in the formation of the corridor can be punished by a fine of 20 Euros.
How to form it?
- On roads with two lanes per direction: Between both lanes
- On roads with three lanes per direction: Between the left and the center lane
- On roads with more lanes per direction: Theoretically in the middle, but a new rule is in the process of introduction. Latter introduces the simple rule applied in other countries as well: The corridor is to be formed between the left and all other lanes.
Just remember the simple rule: In the case of congestion, everyone on the left lane drives to the left, all others to the right.
This is not only mandatory on the Autobahn, but on all roads with more than one lane per direction.
According to law, the emergency lane (to the right of the regular right lane) may only be used by broken down vehicles. But emergency services recommend to use it in forming the emergency corridor anyway.
Forming the emergency corridor became mandatory in Austria in 2012 and you can be fined up to 2.180 Euros if you forget it (§46 (4) StVO).
The Austrian rules are simple: The emergency corridor is to be formed between the leftmost and all other lanes. You only need to remember: Everyone on the left lane drives to left, everyone else to the right.
Since 2011, it is allowed to also use the emergency lane (to the right of the regular right lane) when forming the emergency corridor in Austria.
Here, forming an emergency corridor is mandatory everywhere, including streets having only one lane per direction. In these cases, the corridor should be in the middle. On all other streets the same rule as in Austria applies here, too: Everyone on the left drives to the left, everyone else to the right.
Here, the emergency corridor was introduced in 2005 in §41 (8) Czech Highway Code. The rule differs from those of other countries, in that the corridor is to be formed between the rightmost and all other lanes. Therefore, you need to remember: Everyone on the right drives to the right, everyone else to the left.
This requires rescue vehicles to cross less crowded lanes in order to reach the emergency corridor. The downside is that there are more trucks on the right lanes, often blocking the corridor by their greater width and lower maneuverability.
Since 2012, forming the emergency corridor is mandatory in Hungary, as well. (§5 (5) Hungarian Highway Code)
The emergency corridor is not mandatory in Switzerland. You are just required to let emergency vehicles pass. But forming an emergency corridor like in Austria is recommended.
As in Switzerland, forming an emergency corridor is not mandatory, but recommended.