I got a first-hand look this week at how often drivers ignore the lights and sirens of an emergency vehicle when I followed a Floyd County Rescue Squad ambulance on Floyd and Montgomery County roads as they rushed my mother to the hospital after she fell at her home.
With lights flashing and siren wailing, the rescue squad unit was forced to brake quickly numerous times when drivers failed to pull off the road and let us pass. I followed behind on my motorcycle, emergency flashers going full time, and also had to break and swerve, often when cars tried to pull back on the road immediately after the ambulance passed and without looking to see if other traffic was following.
At times, our speeds on U.S. 221 and Rte. 8 went from 70 miles per hour to 35 in a matter of seconds because drivers talking on their cell phones or driving with the radio blaring at ear-splitting decibels tooled along oblivious to the siren and lights in their rear-view mirror.
One car that finally pulled off and let us pass had a bass woofer so loud in his car that it drowned out the sound of my Harley’s exhaust when we passed.
Rescue squad professionals and volunteers tell me this happens all they time when they are on lifesaving runs. Drivers ignore their lights and sirens or are so wrapped up in distracting activities that have nothing to do with the act of driving a vehicle on a public road.
When seconds count, any delay can mean the difference between life and death. When a car delays an emergency vehicle on a public road that distracted, disinterested and just plain dumb and stupid driver could be contributing to someone’s death.
I have a good memory when it comes to cars, faces and license plates. Had my mother died on the way to the hospital, I would have been looking for 11 incredibly stupid and dangerous drivers.
Wake up people. Put away the cell phones, turn down the radio and get the hell out of the way. Your stupidity could kill someone.