Rants


Make Way for Emergency Vehicles
July 22, 2010

The recent accident covered on the news involving a police officer, a BMW and several other cars in Atlanta makes me think… Today, “je pense” (I am thinking) about safety on the roads.

It reminds me of many incidences I have seen that could have lead to an accident.  I will be praying for those who were injured, as we all should.  My mother and I recently witnessed a fire engine in full emergency mode have to maneuver through traffic that did not move out of his way.  The fire engine even had to come to a complete stop at an intersection and slow to under 30 MPH on the street.  The truck had full lights, siren and horn activity going, but drivers still did not pull to the right.  My mother commented, “you should blog about this”.  Now I am.

We are not from here so maybe it is normal for emergency vehicles to have to navigate through traffic, but isn’t it known how dangerous that is?  We are trained in Chicago that all traffic should move to the right and STOP when an emergency vehicle can be heard.  Stop there.   The FIRST important step is that it “can be heard”.  That is just part one.  Listen for the sirens.  If you are within earshot, then there is a good chance you could be in their way very quickly.

Secondly, pull to your right and STOP.  Bring your vehicle to a complete stop as far right as you can get.   If you are right now picturing that, then you realize this action by all drivers will create an opening in the center allowing the emergency vehicle to go where ever they need to, at any speed they need to, including through intersections and even turning.

I ask you to think, what if it was your house on fire?  What if it was your elder parent in need of assistance?  Or, what if your child was pulled from a pool needing resuscitation?  The police officers and EMTs are responding to an EMERGENCY and it is far more important than where ever you are going.

We have witnessed police cars, fire engines and even the Fire Chief’s car have to travel at under 20 miles per hour in full emergency mode because the drivers around, continued at their normal pace, and did not clear a path.  I saw a Fire Engine almost flip trying to avoid hitting a car in an intersection because the car tried to outrun it, to get around it.  That should be a ticket, and if the truck had flipped, a month in jail.  Another point about emergency vehicles traveling in Chicago, there is folklore that if you are seen being irresponsible while an emergency vehicle tries to make it through, you can receive a hefty ticket.  I do not know if that is true, but I certainly hope it is.

I implore drivers, and even pedestrians, please think about what you are doing and how your behavior affects those around you.  Your world is not, or at least should not be that important that you ignore the fact that an emergency vehicle needs to get where it is going for the safety and possibly the life of another.   It may not be your family or friend this time, but it could be in the future.  Next time, it could be you needing them, but they are held up in traffic because too many drivers are too selfish to let them through.

Everyone is focused on texting and driving, and that is serious, but please think about your emergency transportation.

~Windy City Diva



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