GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - We've all been in that situation, where you see lights and sirens behind you, but you're not sure what to do. Move to the left? Move to the right? Come to a stop? We rode along with emergency workers and State Patrol to see the problem first-hand.
North Memorial Ambulance Service let us put our cameras inside and outside their ambulances so we could document what happens when we go with lights and sirens down the street. We went on real calls, with real emergencies, and ran into real problems.
We came to an intersection on one call with sirens blaring and watched as a silver car, trying to get out of the way, took up two lanes of traffic. It wasn't until we came to a near-stop before the car moved far enough out of the way to let us through, wasting precious moments as we drove to a medical emergency.
Another intersection, another problem - this time as we approach the lights, not one but two, cars cross through the intersection in front of the ambulance. The paramedics we are riding say, it's not always the driver's fault.
"With cars now-a-days they make them soundproof, it makes it a little harder," said our driver with North Memorial.
That might help explain what happened next. We drove behind a line of cars, with lights and sirens, for nearly 30 seconds without acknowledgement. Our driver had to change the tone of the siren just to get the drivers to notice us and get out of the way.
"Most of our attention is focused forward when we're driving our vehicles and when an emergency vehicle approaches from the rear, with today's vehicles, as insulated as they are and soundproof, people don't recognize a squad car, ambulance or fire truck until it's fairly close to them," said Lt. Eric Roeske with Minnesota State Patrol.
Lt. Roeske says people need to pay attention, look in their mirrors more often, and most of all, they should not panic.
"We have people that will move to the left, some will move to the right, some will hit the brakes,"says the Lt. Roeske.
So, the question is, what are you supposed to do? Minnesota law simply states that you should yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle and try to move to the right. But, is that always right?
"Each situation is different so we can't say you should always do this, or never do that, but most frequently, if you could move to the right without causing a traffic disruption or putting yourself in danger, that's the best course of action," said Lt. Roeske.
We rode with State Patrol to see if we could find some of those tricky situations. On the highway we noticed a driver ride right up on the center median as the trooper drove by because they obviously didn't know which direction the squad needed to go.
"You come to a tight spot like this, the center median is okay. What you're basically looking for them to do is come to a stop, get that acknowledgement that you know, or the trooper knows, the driver has seen you," said Lt. Craig Isaacson with Minnesota State Patrol.
Highways pose their own set of problems for emergency vehicles especially during rush-hour. While we riding with the State Patrol, they received a call for an emergency on a bridge over Highway 36 in Roseville. We weren't far from that location, but we were stuck in traffic. The lieutenant put on his lights and sirens and did his best to navigate.
"See now most of these folks are doing the only thing available to them, left and right," said Isaacson.
The cars did a good job of parting the way, except one driver who crossed all the way to the left when the right-hand lane was wide-open, slowing Lt. Isaacson down.
Just a few minutes later, the trooper tries to exit one freeway to another with two lanes of cars stopped at the metered ramp. The lieutenant does his best to pass on the left until we come to a drop-off. He changes the tone of the siren hoping the drivers will move through the light and then move over. They eventually do, but again, precious time is wasted.
Construction, narrow shoulders and traffic are all things that could change how you yield to an emergency vehicle, but the bottom line is this: move to the right if you can and at the very least, safely get out of the way.
"Our number one goal is to get to those who need help safely. We can't help someone if we can't get there," said Lt. Roeske.
What do you do if the emergency vehicle is coming at you in opposite traffic? You're fine unless it's a two lane road. In that situation you too need to pull over and stop. The reason is you simply don't know when and where that emergency vehicle might need to turn on the two-lane road.
What about intersections? It's okay to stay put if the emergency vehicle has room to go around you. If you have the green light and there is no room for them to get around you, you can go through the intersection and then move over.[/quote]
PLEASE move out of the way. People not moving out of the way can delay life-saving service and it irritates all emergency personal.
I hate that.
Couple of weeks ago in front of my college, this lady just stopped her car in the middle of the road like a deer in headlights. That could be your family member
Not news worthy. I don't even think this is news to begin with.
[QUOTE=W00tbeer1;35733953]Not news worthy. I don't even think this is news to begin with.[/QUOTE]
Agree, but it is interesting to see it from the other point of view.
Why did you put brackets in the title?
It's not news, it's more of a public announcement. But who cares? Tons of people have no idea what the hell to do.
I've seen 2 different idiots pass an ambulance on a freeway. Granted it was going slow, but on the other hand it got off at the exit after the one it got on.
I seen it a lot.
Some assholes tend to tail behind the ambulance to get ahead of traffic.
Whenever I ride with my dad on his engine, there's always some dumbass who refuses to pull over, or who pulls out onto the street from some side street oblivious to the loud sirens and flashing lights, or the idiot who, instead of pulling over to the side of the road, finds that it would be a better idea to stop right in the middle.
People seem to be a bit smarter around where I live, I've seen cars drive up onto (unoccupied) sidewalks or road islands (those concrete areas inbetween lanes, often have road signs on them or plants) or disobey the traffic lights. Sure it's dangerous, but I've seen it happen before, the fire truck didn't even need to slow down
I got my driving license not too long ago, and I was rather surprised that aside the theoretical part, there was almost no attention given to what you should do if you encounter a priority vehicle in different road environments.
just replace the siren with [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC86yQAzaxg[/media]
[QUOTE=Araknid;35743784]just replace the siren with [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC86yQAzaxg[/media][/QUOTE]
If I had unlimited money the first thing I would do is buy an Escalade and mount a huge steel plow on the front with the words "MOVE BITCH" written on it in reverse (so it's readable in a rear-view mirror) four feet high in blood.
Woah. You mean people out in the world tend to not think about anyone but themselves? Breaking headlines here, people!
[QUOTE=sHiBaN;35733942]I hate that.
Couple of weeks ago in front of my college, this lady just stopped her car in the middle of the road like a deer in headlights. That could be your family member[/QUOTE]
someone didn't yield to an ambulance in my area t-boned it a mile or so away from the hospital with a occupant in the back.
It just pisses me off, people have music up so loud, they're to busy texting and not paying attention to the road. Then when Rescue/EMT/Police come in with sirens on they don't move, panic or just keep driving like normal. Traffic on both sides of the road in my state stops and pulls to the right so if anyone is acting dumb emergency services can drive in the middle of the road unhindered. But you hardly see people on the opposite lane stop.
I do though, I also make it to where the other drivers have to pull over, because I block them from passing. So everyone behind me has to pull over.
The video makes a good point, that in some situations it's really hard to get out of the way, and that's a terrible feeling as the driver when you've got an ambulance blaring sirens behind you and you can't do anything until other cars move.
The moment that gold car pulled out infront of me I would have had plenty of things to say. :D
Majority of it would have been ending in some form of cursing. :P
Also, the traffic did not pull off due to the siren change in that one clip. They only pulled off because it was their turning lane and they all happened to be turning. People all have this thought that their business is more important than anyone's business.
I think they should put sensors in cars to sense when an ambulance is doing its thing within whatever distance the traffic lights also sense them, that'll help them to hear it.
My sister works as a paramedic for BC-Ambulance, so she encounters shit like this every day at work.
1) She was stopped at a intersection and there was a single car infront of her in her lane. Sirens were on and the traffic light was red. All cars on the other sides of the intersection had stopped even though they had the green light, as is the law, but the little car in front of the ambulance wouldn't move. It had an entire clear intersection to get out of the way and it just sat there waiting. Blasting the really loud horn thing didn't work either, so my sister said they just had to gently ram the bumper on the car and just fucking push it out of the way.
2) Sister and co-workers were on break, so they had pulled the ambulance into a tim-hortons drive-through to get some coffee. While the car infront was placing an order they got a emergency call and put on the sirens. The guy in front of them had his window open and was leaning out the window to place his order. He continued to do this even after the big huge white and loud flashing box behind him turned on. He flat out refused to move. Sister ended up having to jump the curb and drive through the flower garden and back onto the road again.
3) Heading to hospital with a young girl in the back who is having a heart attack. Some numbnut decided to advance into the intersection while traffic was already going through and caused a miniture grid-lock situation. Ambulance got stuck and the child in the back died.
[QUOTE=Red scout?;35736263]Why did you put brackets in the title?[/QUOTE]
Original title was "Please get out of the way"
[of emergency vehicles] was added to make the title more descriptive.
I've seen instances of people who actually pull out [I]in front of them[/I] and [I]flick off[/I] the ambulances because they thing they're using their sirens to get through traffic lights for shits and giggles. Fucking disgraceful. I'm glad its against the law to not yield to emergency vehicles in Georgia. I've processed quite a few "move over law" tickets for this state.
I've yet to witness anyone do anything but the correct procedure when emergency services are on the road, here in the UK.
[QUOTE=Flyboi;35746268]I've yet to witness anyone do anything but the correct procedure when emergency services are on the road, here in the UK.[/QUOTE]
Same here in California, I know what you're doing, its stupid stop.
[QUOTE=S31-Syntax;35746159]I've seen instances of people who actually pull out [I]in front of them[/I] and [I]flick off[/I] the ambulances because they thing they're using their sirens to get through traffic lights for shits and giggles. Fucking disgraceful. I'm glad its against the law to not yield to emergency vehicles in Georgia. I've processed quite a few "move over law" tickets for this state.[/QUOTE]
Nobody ever follows the "move over law" here. In Massachusetts, any service vehicle with flashing lights is considered an "emergency vehicle" (including police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks, certain construction vehicles, etc). On highways, people only change lanes if it's a police car.
I've never seen an issue with that in the ambulance I work in. People pretty much universally move. You have some idiots who just stop dead, but most people know what to do.
3) Heading to hospital with a young girl in the back who is having a heart attack. Some numbnut decided to advance into the intersection while traffic was already going through and caused a miniture grid-lock situation. [B][U]Ambulance got stuck and the child in the back died.[/U][/B][/QUOTE]
ambulances need a damn plow and a fucking gun turret, if it's what they need to get through the idiots not moving out of the damn way, so be it
ambulances need a damn plow and a fucking gun turret, if it's what they need to get through the idiots not moving out of the damn way, so be it[/QUOTE]
Sounds like a Twisted Metal vehicle.
The only time I had trouble deciding what to do regarding emergency vehicles was when I was leaving the baseball park after an Orioles game. There were hundreds of people walking in the street and a fire truck came up behind me at a light, blaring it's sirens and horns. There were people just walking across the crosswalk in front of me and I had nowhere to go unless I wanted to hit 30 people.
They finally cleared and I was able to move, but the firefighters gave me the dirtiest look as they went by, made me mad/angry/confused.
My dad's a firefighter, so he knows the frustration of driving a massive vehicle down the road attempting to get to a fire to, you know, [B]save people[/B] and yet still some people don't pull over!
[QUOTE=SweetSwifter;35743226]I got my driving license not too long ago, and I was rather surprised that aside the theoretical part, there was almost no attention given to what you should do if you encounter a priority vehicle in different road environments.[/QUOTE]
My friend was in a Drivers Ed. car awhile back and an ambulance passed them in the other direction (off duty) on a rural road. It stopped, turned around and laid on it's sirens then and when he pulled over they waved at him and turned back around :v:
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