Pull Over and Stop for Emergency Vehicles

So guess what prompted this? That’s right, an accident on the way to work this morning. No, not me, I’m fine (saints be praised).

About halfway to work this morning, I was stopped at a light that I am often stopped at, and observed a car on the cross street to my left backing up from the intersection… and backing up… and I wondered what the hell he was doing. At first I figured he (or she, couldn’t see from where I was) forgot something at home and was going to back down the short street to their driveway. Until the landscaper’s truck in front of me suddenly pulled into the left turn lane when the light changed, and I saw in front of him, two cars up, a motorcyclist lying on the ground. The bike had been at the front of the line at the light, and the car behind him had hit the bike. There was a jeep behind that car, and two people standing around next to the biker on the ground. The man was on his cell phone, the woman (older woman with short gray hair, I’m assuming she was the one who hit the motorcycle since she didn’t look like the type to drive an open jeep with a roll bar) was just sort of standing there next to him. I don’t know exactly what kind of bike it was, just that it was one of those flashy red ‘crotch-rocket’ types. The motorcyclist still had his helmet on, but didn’t seem to be moving much. It must have happened only minutes before, there were no emergency vehicles yet.

So I slowly went on by, rattled and trying to think of everyone I know at work who rides a bike, hoping it wasn’t them. I rounded the curve and stopped at the next light, and was relieved to see a police car heading in the direction of the accident (no lights and sirens, though, so apparently just happened to be in the area and not responding specifically to the accident, but still trained help was close). A little further down the road and another police car, lights and sirens on, went by, and most folks dutifully pulled way over out of the way (most of us in that line of traffic had gone by the accident). About a mile down the road I make a turn, and as I came up to that light and got into the right turn lane, I saw the ambulance coming. Here’s where I saw something I never saw before.

Not only did the first car in line at the light go straight (east) through the intersection, straight at the on-coming ambulance, there was no attempt to slow down or pull over. He kept straight on in the lane and only swerved at the last second to avoid the ambulance as it was pulling to the center to get around traffic in the west-bound left-turn lane. He never even braked. It was a little white car, not sure what it was and didn’t get his plates. If he had hit head-on with the ambulance…

THEN, as I sat there horrified at what I had just seen, the SUV the ambulance was trying to get around in that aforesaid left-turn lane, waiting to make a left turn onto the road I was turning onto, WENT AHEAD AND MADE THE TURN, cutting off the ambulance. Two near misses in about 1/10th of a mile. All on the way to help an injured motorcyclist.

PEOPLE. FUCKING PAY ATTENTION OUT THERE. Check your mirrors, it’s your responsibility to be aware of everything on the road around you. Sure, my windows were up, the music was turned up, I had the sun in my eyes, but I managed to see and stop for both the police car and the ambulance. It doesn’t matter which side of the road you’re on, which direction you were planning to turn. When you see lights and hear sirens (and you better be seeing and hearing them) YOU PULL OVER AND STOP.


So there, I said it.

15 thoughts on “Pull Over and Stop for Emergency Vehicles

  1. sending prayers & good thoughts to the biker – have you heard anything on the local news? People are SUCH JACKASSES – where could you possibly be going that’s more important than getting that poor guy to the hospital?


  2. I guess it wasn’t a news-worthy incident, I haven’t been able to find any mention of it online today. I’ll keep checking. I was just so completely stunned to watch that white car take off, like he expected the ambulance to get out of HIS way. Never seen anything like it. And then, mere fractions of a second later, to see the SUV nearly crash into the ambulance was like something out of a disaster movie. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes…


    1. If it wasn’t tabloid- or network news-worthy, it’s looking good for the biker : if the poor soul had died or been critically injured, it would be all over the front page: if it bleeds, it leads, and all that.


  3. Not to make light of this incident, but i do recall our famous drivers’ ed instructor (and gym teacher extraordinaire) S. Brandwene say, “the more you drive, the more you see.” And after 25+ years of behind the wheel real-life experience, we are still surprised by the stuff we see! But then again, people are wild cards….. machines can only do what humans tell them to do. (and I still remember Boris always cautioning me that “you’re driving a dangerous piece of machinery here.” )


  4. β€œ’you’re driving a dangerous piece of machinery here.’” my Dad used to say the same thing. People are so self centered, they act as though the car is an extension of their own person, and not a separate, inanimate object.


  5. That’s the thing, people forget it’s basically a 2-ton weapon they’re wielding. In this particular case the car that hit the motorcycle was not a huge beast, probably a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, something along those lines (I was trying to watch where *I* was going, not gawk at them as I went by so I’m not entirely sure what it was). Had it been a Hummer or Escalade, they would have had to pick that guy up with a stick and a spoon.

    For men especially I think what you said is true, MJ, that they see the car as an extension of themselves. But flagrant disregard of the law and emergency vehicles seems more to blame on inattentiveness. I still don’t get that guy totally ignoring the ambulance coming at him.


  6. i wish i could say that men have a monopoly on this behavior, but i have seen more and more women overcome by road rage fueled by a sense of entitlement behind the wheel. and there have been a few very tragic incidents in the past year of women driving carloads of kids under the influence. tragic results of very selfish behavior. defensive driving is still your best defense. just let the crazies go….


    1. Some of the best advice I ever got about driving (and life, for that matter,) came from my brother the Chemist, when I was very young – he told me “you will be safest if you assume that everyone else on the road is an assho!e”


  7. Hi! Had to say Brava, kudos, glad someone said it etcetera πŸ™‚ I have often said similar things, (loudly, to myself, in my car). I lived near a university hospital and VA center (both near each other) and I saw many people cut off ambulances. It’s terrible, especially considering that EVERYONE would want an ambulance they’re in to be safe and get right of way. I also worry about the bikers whom people don’t watch out for. Shared this, and I am sure it may save a life someday!
    I Hope all is well with you all, LOVE the new background and will visit again soon πŸ™‚


  8. Hi Jan! πŸ™‚

    I’m still appalled, astounded, horrified by what I saw. Are they stupid? Ignorant? Talking on cell phones? I just don’t get it. Like you said, anyone being transported by ambulance would like to feel safe during that trip, despite whatever landed them there.

    Thanks for sharing it. Hopefully it will make at least one person think twice before pulling some bonehead maneuvers like these.

    New background is fun, isn’t it? πŸ˜‰ Talk to you soon, I hope!


  9. I want to comment, but in all honesty I am getting so sick and so tired of saying things I shouldn’t even have to say anymore about things people shouldn’t even have to be reminded not to do or to do when it comes to driving.

    *heavy, disgusted, exasperated sigh*


  10. Right?? that’s why I found it so shocking that two people nearly collided with the ambulance in the space of mere seconds. I just don’t know where these people come from, that they are so entirely self-absorbed. Maybe it’s a sign of the times that we’ve become so inured to other people’s pain and misfortune that we are losing our humanity, any sense of compassion or duty to our fellow man. People just don’t seem to care.


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