If you drive a vehicle on public streets and roads it is very likely that you have violated traffic rules during the past few weeks. Perhaps you exceeded the speed limit, or failed to signal when changing lanes, or accelerated as you entered an intersection when the light turned yellow. These types of violations can be dangerous but are unlikely to cause serious damage or death.
Recently, I observed a traffic violation that could lead to serious injury or death, and I was really angered by what I saw. I was stopped at the light at the intersection of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road, waiting in the southbound left-turner’s lane on John Wayne. The light was green and an ambulance with flashing lights and siren sounding was in the westbound lane on Smith-Enke trying to get through the red light to cross John Wayne. Despite the blaring siren and bright flashing lights northbound John Wayne traffic kept moving, preventing the ambulance from getting to its destination.
The ambulance was delayed for approximately 20 seconds, which could mean the difference between life and death for a person having a heart attack or stroke. I was appalled at the callousness of drivers who failed to yield to the emergency signals.
You might ask why I was so angered? I learned to drive in Waco, Texas and my very first day of driving, I came upon a funeral cortege. All cars were stopped out of respect for the deceased individual. I learned that there were a few rules that were mandatory in Texas. Stopping for funerals and for emergency vehicles were not to be violated. When traveling on a two-lane road (in Texas the speed limit on these roads in rural areas was 70 mph) if you saw a car behind you trying to pass, you slowed down and moved to the right to allow the passing to be done quickly.
My driver’s training gave me a serious outlook on the rules of the road, thus my anger at drivers failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. What would l suggest as a remedy? Perhaps a decoy ambulance program should be started. An ambulance, not on call, would drive around along with an unmarked police car. When approaching a red light at an intersection, the ambulance should sound its siren and flash its lights. Any driver who failed to yield would be stopped and ticketed by the unmarked police vehicle. Once the word got out about this ploy, most drivers would immediately yield to emergency vehicles.