The Right of Way

I don’t know when I learned it, but somewhere in my life I was taught that when an ambulance comes behind you with lights and sirens, you move off to the right or stay where you are if you can’t move.

Working in EMS, it floors me how many people do not move!! They just keep going. We are required to pass on the left. Hence moving to the right to let us by.

This weekend, at 1am, we responded to a call and were on a road with two lanes in our direction. There was minimal traffic. I come up behind a car and am changing the siren, lights and sirens going, and a car in front of me refused to move. The call happened to be for a gentleman who was unresponsive, hence the need for lights and sirens.

Finally, the car moved. However, it cost us an extra 2 minutes in response time. Those two minutes, no matter what the call is, are crucial. It can mean a medication pushed later, an IV started later, or a round of compressions done later.

Although this seems like a rant, let it be a simple PSA. Move for an ambulance with lights and sirens. Move to the extreme right and stop your vehicle. If you are unable to move, stop where you are and let us through.

The next time we come through, it could be your loved one we are rushing to. That extra two minutes could save a life.

We have the right of way, but we cannot assume it as our safety comes first in order to care for our patients.

The lesson today-acknowledge our right of way. We are simply trying to do our job. Let us.

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