When driving, walking, running, or riding a bike, all of us have to pay attention to the sounds and what is happening around us.
Recently when driving through a city, I witnessed a police vehicle almost get hit by not one, but three cars. We were all at a busy intersection, and a police car with lights and sirens on was trying to make a left-hand turn at a red light.
What is your response when you hear a siren? Mine is to look around madly and roll down the window, if needed, so that I can locate the position of the emergency vehicle. If the siren is behind or coming at me, I look in the mirrors and pull over to the right when it’s safe to do so. When the emergency vehicle is approaching from a side street, I look to see if it has a blinker on or if they are continuing straight and respond appropriately so they are able to get around me safely.
In this instance, the officer came to a complete stop at the red light before entering the intersection, I stopped in my lane on the road to the right of the car with the flashing lights and sirens, and the oncoming traffic had stopped as well. After I stopped two cars passed me on the right, but the one that scared me was the one that passed me on my left at a high rate of speed. They were oblivious to the sirens and the emergency lights until they got in front of the police car as it was pulling into the intersection. I’m sure officers are taught to drive around oblivious vehicles as that was the only thing that saved the officer as well as the speeding car.
This whole scenario has me wondering “what was in these people’s minds?” First, they saw, or I hope they saw me stopped at a green light, the lights flashing on the police car, and heard the wail of the sirens. I felt like all of this should have been a huge clue that something was going on at this intersection and they should proceed with caution.
I also wondered who was waiting for this officer to possibly save their life as these oblivious vehicles made the emergency vehicle wait as they sped by. The interior of the Freightliner Cascadia is quiet but not quiet enough to block out the sound of an emergency vehicle. We always need to be mindful of what is going on around us and take the appropriate action.