Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA
Reload this Page >

Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Old Dec 23rd 2009, 5:04 pm
  #1  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Dan725's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,315
Dan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond repute
Thumbs down Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Its been a while since I've had a rant about anything, so must be time for one, and I was treated to a grand spectacle of a near accident ironically caused by a fire engine passing this morning that made me think of it!

As if driving over here isn't bad enough already, one thing that really ticks me off is the general driver responses to approaching emergency service vehicles here. To put it bluntly, its nothing short of a cluster****. Seems that when an ambulance or fire engine is approaching, a mass panic always ensues. Some cars just stop dead in the middle of the road; some get over on the verge, some even get over on the other side of the road . The result is that the driver of the ambulance or whatever has to drive around the chaos and second guess this random craziness by the drivers, which makes his job even harder than if they had all just stayed where they were or just slowed down a bit to let him through rather than swerve around or just dead stop. And then, when he's gone through, you get some utterly rude people who lock onto the back of it as an opportunity to gain a few car lengths past the ones in the front who had all pulled over....arrgh!

Never did I ever notice anything like this in the UK - for instance, if an ambulance is coming in the other direction, it never causes a blind panic with people just stopping/swerving around etc like they do here. Also if one is coming from behind, it just seems that people handle it a whole lot more sensibly in the UK, i.e. either staying put or continuing along just slowing down as necessary to let it through, rather than the madness that ensues here.

Is there a law here that says you must get off the road at all costs, even if its blatantly unsafe to do so? I'm not saying don't get out of the way, but for some reason here, it just seems that people take leave of their senses to do so.
Dan725 is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 5:11 pm
  #2  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Bluegrass Lass's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: My Old KY Home!
Posts: 6,498
Bluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

IIRC, when I was reading the driving manual way back before I had my permit, you are supposed to a pull as far off the road as possible and come to a stop. So yeah, it basically sounded like if you did not get out of the emergency vehicle's path, you could be fined..even if you it was not safe for you to do so.

In reality, I usually slow down, and get maybe about halfway into the emergency shoulder (if there is one). Though sometimes, I will stop depending on where I am in traffic (i.e. a left-hand turn lane or near an intersection).
Bluegrass Lass is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 5:14 pm
  #3  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 436
Zonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond reputeZonie has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Originally Posted by Dan725 View Post
Its been a while since I've had a rant about anything, so must be time for one, and I was treated to a grand spectacle of a near accident ironically caused by a fire engine passing this morning that made me think of it!

As if driving over here isn't bad enough already, one thing that really ticks me off is the general driver responses to approaching emergency service vehicles here. To put it bluntly, its nothing short of a cluster****. Seems that when an ambulance or fire engine is approaching, a mass panic always ensues. Some cars just stop dead in the middle of the road; some get over on the verge, some even get over on the other side of the road . The result is that the driver of the ambulance or whatever has to drive around the chaos and second guess this random craziness by the drivers, which makes his job even harder than if they had all just stayed where they were or just slowed down a bit to let him through rather than swerve around or just dead stop. And then, when he's gone through, you get some utterly rude people who lock onto the back of it as an opportunity to gain a few car lengths past the ones in the front who had all pulled over....arrgh!

Never did I ever notice anything like this in the UK - for instance, if an ambulance is coming in the other direction, it never causes a blind panic with people just stopping/swerving around etc like they do here. Also if one is coming from behind, it just seems that people handle it a whole lot more sensibly in the UK, i.e. either staying put or continuing along just slowing down as necessary to let it through, rather than the madness that ensues here.

Is there a law here that says you must get off the road at all costs, even if its blatantly unsafe to do so? I'm not saying don't get out of the way, but for some reason here, it just seems that people take leave of their senses to do so.
Don't know about FL but here in AZ the law is pull over to the right and stop when being passed by an emergency vehicle in either direction except on a divided highway. Seems common sense to me. Also the fire engines have "Do not get closer than 500FT" in large letters on the rear.
Zonie is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 5:17 pm
  #4  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Dan725's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,315
Dan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Originally Posted by sunflwrgrl13 View Post
IIRC, when I was reading the driving manual way back before I had my permit, you are supposed to a pull as far off the road as possible and come to a stop. So yeah, it basically sounded like if you did not get out of the emergency vehicle's path, you could be fined..even if you it was not safe for you to do so.

In reality, I usually slow down, and get maybe about halfway into the emergency shoulder (if there is one). Though sometimes, I will stop depending on where I am in traffic (i.e. a left-hand turn lane or near an intersection).
I find the intersections are the worst case scenarios where you get some people frozen, some swerving around onto either sides of the road, some people coming from another direction not aware of what is happening and driving like normal....then the firettruck comes along and gives an extra loud blast on his airhorn (above and beyond the siren) just to scare the crap out of everyone even more....I dunno, the proceedings here just seems to be far worse here than anywhere else I've been.
Dan725 is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 5:21 pm
  #5  
Forum Regular
 
ajcmals's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Kentucky - Green Card came 2 months after marrying! :D
Posts: 188
ajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond reputeajcmals has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Originally Posted by Zonie View Post
Don't know about FL but here in AZ the law is pull over to the right and stop when being passed by an emergency vehicle in either direction except on a divided highway. Seems common sense to me. Also the fire engines have "Do not get closer than 500FT" in large letters on the rear.
Yep same here in KY!

I agree though, a right mess when emergency vehicles are behind you! I'm sorry but I get very frustrated at alot of drivers here... nobody is perfect but I happen to think I am a 'good' driver and some people on the road here REALLY shouldn't be on the road. In a previous post elsewhere I said that I have had about 3 near misses in the last few months (not my fault) and my horn gets a GOOOOOOD workout. Always checking my mirrors and am very aware at some a-holes on the road, cutting in and out of traffic also.

If only the driving tests were as tough as the ones in the UK! Wow!

For the record my wife has had several 'at fault' wrecks... reversing into a parked car and a bollard are inclusive of this... IDIOT! Good job I have a back-up cam on my car (which you can buy)!

ajcmals is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 5:24 pm
  #6  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Dan725's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,315
Dan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Originally Posted by Zonie View Post
Don't know about FL but here in AZ the law is pull over to the right and stop when being passed by an emergency vehicle in either direction except on a divided highway. Seems common sense to me. Also the fire engines have "Do not get closer than 500FT" in large letters on the rear.
I should imagine its probably the same here, but the actual implementation of it is severely lacking...especially the people who then try to take advantage of the situation and gain car lengths over the ones stopped in front of them. That is how the accident nearly occurred this morning, a car had built up a fair lick of speed in his overtaking bid and seemed surprised when someone just pulled off the verge in front of him.
Dan725 is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 5:45 pm
  #7  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 22,105
AmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond reputeAmerLisa has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

I've always known it to be the law in California and it is in Oregon and Washington. You have to pull over and let them through. I've not ever witnessed utter pandemonium while doing so, though. I don't know where you live or how the bad the drivers are, but the drivers are pretty darn bad here in Washington.....scary is more like it!

Found this on Snopes:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/traffic/moveover.asp
AmerLisa is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 5:56 pm
  #8  
MODERATOR
 
penguinsix's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Hong Kong, mostly.
Posts: 5,104
penguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond reputepenguinsix has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

This picture reminded me of this thread. Actually this is a coach crash where two died. Not sure why the police car looks off the road.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8427781.stm
penguinsix is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 6:02 pm
  #9  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
Bluegrass Lass's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2003
Location: My Old KY Home!
Posts: 6,498
Bluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond reputeBluegrass Lass has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Originally Posted by ajcmals View Post

If only the driving tests were as tough as the ones in the UK! Wow!

Wouldn't matter if they were tougher. Enforcing the road laws is the issue. Btw, if you remember me from previous PM's, my OH and I live outside L'ville.

Originally Posted by Dan725 View Post
I should imagine its probably the same here, but the actual implementation of it is severely lacking...especially the people who then try to take advantage of the situation and gain car lengths over the ones stopped in front of them. That is how the accident nearly occurred this morning, a car had built up a fair lick of speed in his overtaking bid and seemed surprised when someone just pulled off the verge in front of him.
This. I noticed this myself recently here in the small town where I work. As soon as the ambulance passed, a few peeps pulled back on the roadway and were trying to cut off people that had pulled off on the shoulder...as if they thought it was their right to do so. This was actually the first time I had witnessed this, so it was fairly surprising, but didn't stop me from pulling right back over in front of them. I wish they would have hit me, I would have enjoyed milking it for all I could insurance-wise. Effing idiots.

Ohio has done some good in curbing the intersection problems. Quite a few intersections added a light that I think the emergency vehicle could activate. IIRC, the light would start pulsing red or white (or something like that) that got the drivers' attentions so they would slow down. Intersections are the worst, esp if you don't see the vehicle approaching from the other direction. Once I do see it, my immediate action is to stop and let the vehicle manuever around me since you can't predict where they're going. Unfortunately, that's the common sense that a lot of people don't have.
Bluegrass Lass is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 6:11 pm
  #10  
BE Forum Addict
 
frrussre's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Ft Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 4,792
frrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

A few years ago, It got so bad in NYC, they had to install video cameras on emergency vehicles, the cameras, would take photos of vehicles that failed to get out of the way. When I first moved to NYC, it was one of the first thinks I noticed, no one got out of the way, in-fact the Emergency vehicles, lights flashing & sirens blaring would just sit there.
One time I was on a subway train that came into W4 station, the guard announced the doors, would not be opened as a man appeared to have had a heart attack. We had to wait, for EMT & Police. The passenger uproar on the train, was unbelievable "Open the doors, put him on the platform, I have to get home, your making us late, not our problem, we can't help him etc etc".
Reg. Frank R.
frrussre is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 6:48 pm
  #11  
Concierge
 
Rete's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 43,715
Rete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

I don't recall if you lived in the city proper or in one of the boroughs. Much of Manhattan, in particular, the "streets" rather than avenues have no room for someone to pull over. I'm on 51st street on the east side. The firehouse is 1/2 a block away. You have to go west on 51st - one way - and there parking on either side of the street and only one lane traffic. When the engine is trying to get through no one on Park Avenue will stop before the intersection so that street traffic can pull up and out of the way. That is a very very common problem here in Manhattan.

In Westchester I do see some inconsiderate and sorry arsed people not stop or pull over for an emergency vehicle. I was taught the law was to pull as far to the right (or left if it is a one way street) and stop to allow the emergency vehicle to pass.

Those jerks who don't are probably the same ones that when caught in traffic trying to get to the toll plaza of the GW bridge will drive in the break down lane to get ahead of everyone else.
Rete is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 7:16 pm
  #12  
BE Forum Addict
 
frrussre's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2002
Location: Ft Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 4,792
frrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond reputefrrussre has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
I don't recall if you lived in the city proper or in one of the boroughs. Much of Manhattan, in particular, the "streets" rather than avenues have no room for someone to pull over. I'm on 51st street on the east side. The firehouse is 1/2 a block away. You have to go west on 51st - one way - and there parking on either side of the street and only one lane traffic. When the engine is trying to get through no one on Park Avenue will stop before the intersection so that street traffic can pull up and out of the way. That is a very very common problem here in Manhattan.

In Westchester I do see some inconsiderate and sorry arsed people not stop or pull over for an emergency vehicle. I was taught the law was to pull as far to the right (or left if it is a one way street) and stop to allow the emergency vehicle to pass.

Those jerks who don't are probably the same ones that when caught in traffic trying to get to the toll plaza of the GW bridge will drive in the break down lane to get ahead of everyone else.
I lived on 6th Avenue, the heart of it all, at 3 am, taxi's would not pull over. Most of the Avenues are very wide, always a way to move over, the drivers are just too arrogant, "Why should I get out of the way, let someone else do it". Many times, when I have moved out of the way, some idiot behind me just see's it as an opportunity to take my space. New Yorkers, generally are in too much hurry to move out of the way. Central London, has much narrower roads, but drivers always got out of the way. I say always did, because last few years, I have noticed, the new influx of foreign drivers, do not seem as keen as the indigenous London population, to move over.

Frank R.

Reg. Frank R.
frrussre is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 7:52 pm
  #13  
Concierge
 
Rete's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 43,715
Rete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond reputeRete has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

I've been to Germany twice but can't prove what my husband says about German emergency vehicles. He claims during his 12 years of living there that the EV have a bar that pushes cars out of the way if it does move from there path. If this is true I would love to see it used here.
Rete is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 8:03 pm
  #14  
 
lansbury's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukie, Oregon
Posts: 9,467
lansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond reputelansbury has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Originally Posted by Dan725 View Post
Never did I ever notice anything like this in the UK -
You must have never driven an emergency service vehicle in the UK then. I could write a book about the dickhead things done in front of me.

The two worst, 1) someone slamming on their brakes in the fast lane of the M1 when I'm in the fast lane coming up behind them in pursuit of a motorcycle at 130mph and 2) stopping alongside a centre island in Dudden Hill Lane when there is solid traffic coming down the other way.
lansbury is offline  
Old Dec 23rd 2009, 8:33 pm
  #15  
BE Forum Addict
Thread Starter
 
Dan725's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,315
Dan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond reputeDan725 has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Driver responses to emergency service vehicles

Originally Posted by lansbury View Post
You must have never driven an emergency service vehicle in the UK then. I could write a book about the dickhead things done in front of me.

The two worst, 1) someone slamming on their brakes in the fast lane of the M1 when I'm in the fast lane coming up behind them in pursuit of a motorcycle at 130mph and 2) stopping alongside a centre island in Dudden Hill Lane when there is solid traffic coming down the other way.
Not saying there are not dickheads in the UK - but it pales by comparison. When I see a fire engine in my rearview mirror here, I'm more worried about what random acts other people will engage in than I ever was there.
Dan725 is offline  

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.