June 04, 2007

PSA - Emergency Vehicles Have Right of Way

While I know that regular readers of this site are wonderful people who would never make the mistake of failing to yield the road under appropriate circumstances, this is also where I write things that I can't yell at other drivers. So ...

Dear Fellow Driver,

I know you were probably late, in a hurry, very important meeting and all that. That happens to me, also. I get rushed, places to go, things to do, get in that mood where I just absolutely must zap through traffic like a maniac. (And if that was you I cut off the other day when I didn't leave the house until the very minute when I was already supposed to be where I was going, erm, sorry.) Which is so frustrating, because whenever that happens, the road seems to positively flood with drivers who don't seem to have anywhere to go and others who simply don't understand that my appointment is way more important than theirs. Gaaa! I'm sure that probably happened to you to today, I can empathize, really.

Your adrenaline might have been up, and I know how that is. A person sufficiently startled into needing to get somewhere in a hurry, like me at the airport trying to make a close connection (I was the only person of a half dozen on my first flight segment to make a last-minute connection to San Francisco at O'Hare a few years ago; they shut the doors behind me and pulled away from the gate right after I'd buckled in. I'd taken off at a run immediately after getting off the first flight and hearing them call out the gate number for my connection, racing through the terminals in heels and with two heavy bags. I made it to the terminal shuttle maybe a half minute or so before the rest, just barely catching it and hence, my flight.), can be barely distinguishable from a bolting horse. Higher brain functions? Civility? Well, keep hope alive.

Days like that are why God invented auto racing video games where you can push or blast people off the road when they're in your way. They exist to prevent us from sinning against each other in real life when we've had it up to here.

But look, when an ambulance or fire truck is coming up behind you with flashing lights, that all needs to go right out the window. It means somebody just called 911 and that emergency vehicle needed to be at the place where that call originated probably a few minutes before it was made. Nothing in the world that you or I might have to do is more important than that. The consequences of our trivial latenesses aren't even in the same moral universe as the possible consequences of holding up an emergency vehicle.

Somebody might be having a bad asthma attack that their regular inhaler just can't seem to control, or a heart attack, or a stroke, or maybe someone's kid found their mom or dad unconscious in the living room and doesn't know what's wrong. Maybe some dumb kid (like we all used to be, god only knows how we survived it,) started a kitchen grease fire. Maybe a police officer is responding to a domestic violence call. Who knows.

That emergency vehicle may stand between a close call and a last breath. Between a little muscle weakness due to nerve damage and loss of motor control on the entire right side of the body. Between a little fire damage and a family's lives and/or worldly goods turning to smoke and ashes. Between arresting someone for violating a restraining order and booking someone for murder.

So with all possible speed, would you kindly get the **** out of the way and pull your ****** car over to the side of the ************* road when you hear a siren and see the flashing lights in the rearview. Pretty please?


Posted by natasha at June 4, 2007 09:33 AM | Miscellaneous | Technorati links |

Amen, Natasha. My ex is a volunteer firefighter. I can't even begin to calculate the number of times he came home from a fire call or accident and told me about the idiots who wouldn't pull over for them. And every time, the family or witnesses ask, "What took you so long?"

I'd like to add: in areas with volunteer fire and ambulance departments, it's a courtesy to pull to the side of the road when blue/green/yellow lights are flashing behind you. Volunteer FFs and EMTs need to get from their home or workplace to the fire hall and THEN to the scene. Cut 'em some slack and give them the road.

Posted by: PA_Lady at June 5, 2007 06:59 PM