This is somewhat of a rant, but also a haven for other people to share their stories correlating to my post as well.
Granted, POVs where I live are NOT designated emergency vehicles, we are allowed to run blue lights as a courtesy light. Generally people will move out of the way for vehicles utilizing blue lights, but the other day something weird happened.
Responding to my station, blue lights activated, we have a street that runs perpendicular with our main road that runs down to the station about 250-300 feet. At this intersection people will usually yield and let me go by. However, this day, people kept on rolling. I'm not talking a few cars, I am talking about 45 seconds to about a minute of constant traffic not stopping. Even a local transit bus didn't stop. I was clearly visible as it was dark out, and I use LEDs since they're brighter and save energy.
The best part is that the people driving by not giving me the common courtesy were driving into a blatant red light about <100 feet behind me at the intersection. It's as if people were SO busy that they had to make it to that red light. It was so important, dire if you will, that they couldn't let me go by. People will generally even stop for people if it's a red light so they can turn through the intersection just to be nice. It just baffles me.
Anyway... Anyone else have any sort of problems like this?
We have to wait often in our fire apparatus when trying to leave our station. We have to pull out directly onto a 55 mph four lane stretch. Even with lights and sirens on traffic doesn't seem to want to stop. I have waited up to a minute or so before. I have found many people get nervous or scared when an emergency vehicle apporaches them and they just don't know what to do. Sometimes it is just as easy not to run any lights or sirens at all I found out.
Sounds like your in IN.
I used to live there. I am now in KY. I love it in KY. If you want, you can run a red light with siren. Your vehichle is an emergency vehichle by law. Saying that, you better have reason to run those, but we have full power of the law when we are enroute to a scene. About the only trouble we have is people stopping to let us pass in the middle of the road or a blind curve. Sometimes when they stop in the middle of the road, the road is not wide enough to pass. If I remember correctly in IN you guys are not aloud to run a siren, right? After being in both states, I feel as if in IN volunteer firemen are not viewed as real firemen.
I think it's shamefull to all that have trained so they can help their community.
When you can figure out or even predict how the licensed lunatic fringe of the motoring public will operate vehicles under NORMAL circumstances, then you have just solidified your place in the Traffic Engineers Hall of Fame.
Since we can't predict what others will do, since we can't control what others will do AND since we can't rely on current laws or common sense to drive the drivers, then WE have to control what WE do.
Looked at the most recent LODDs? Lots of crashes killing firefighters. Lots of civilians getting hit by or are hitting fire apparatus and POVs.
I would operate my vehicle in a safe manner, concentrate on getting to the station safely, continue to educate the public on extending the courtesies so that when every second counts, they aren't spent waiting for traffic to clear.
It's when we force our will on the people that sh*t happens. And bad stuff at that.
Use the time to bring down the adrenaline rush and prepare for battle.
In Lakewood, N.Y., when we issue blue lights, we explain it is for identification at the scene so people handling traffic can allow you access to that scene. Legally and realisticly there should be no expection of favors from Jane and Joe driver on route. If managment has said it and newbies know it, it becomes inforcable and defensable. Works here. Happy Thankgiving.
I tell our probies that the blue light, in Illinois, is just a tool asking other motorists to let you go first and as a tool for police officers to let you closer to the scene. You still can not break any traffic laws and this means SPEEDING! If you cause an accident are you helping the original call? As said before by others the only thing we can control is the actions of ourself. Be safe!
At least you can use lights. Where I'm from State Law & most insurance's prohibit POV's from running lights until the vehicle is stationary. Even though it would be really scary to see some of the volunteer firefighter's around here allowed to run lights down the road, it would still be nice for us more matured & experianced volunteers to have a way to clear traffic. Even in an apparatus on a rural two lane highway running lights & sirens, it amazes me at the number of drivers who refuse to yield or just plain act stupid. I have had them keep driving while we are trying to pull out onto a road, slam on their brakes infront of us, refuse to pull over & even try to outrun us.
In a town just south of where i live is a paid fire dept. If a police officer sees that you failed to yield the right of way for the fire dept. they will write you a nice little ticket. The main thing that i see is that you were say in responding to the station. You didnt take it for granted that they would stop or pull over. Being safe is the main thing . Even though you were running the lights it is a courtesy thing that people pull over and give you the right of way. The one thing that you or anyones dept. needs is the nightly news reading "Local firefighter kills family while responding to a call". So remember that it is vital that you make it to the scene and that everyone goes home. Be safe
I have found many people get nervous or scared when an emergency vehicle apporaches them and they just don't know what to do.
Yeah, it seems that there's something about lights and sirens that turn people's minds to goo. I've found that sometimes running cold will get you there sooner in heavier traffic where you wait your turn for the light vs. causing people to pull in all directions, causing an impassable street.
Yeah. For some reason people here in IN think the red lights and sirens mean speed up and race the lights to the intersection. Not fun when your driving an engine with 1500 gals. of water on board along with all the other tools. It don't like to stop too fast.