Intersections represent the greatest challenge and danger that emergency vehicle operators face daily. It does not matter whether an intersection is in a densely populated urban setting or a sparsely settled rural area. What does matter is how you, the emergency vehicle operator, handle this...
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Is there anything that you could have done from a defensive-driving standpoint to prevent this accident? The emergency vehicle operator must treat each lane in a multi-lane intersection as a separate intersection. The operator must look beyond that first line of cars that are yielding the right-of-way to make sure no one moves four or five cars deep. The drivers of these cars don’t hear you, don’t see you and cannot understand why the other cars have stopped at a green light. Unlike shotgun alley, these motorists use the shoulder of the road or other desperate means to beat traffic.
Regardless of how these cars end up in the intersection, it is your job as a professional emergency vehicle operator to insure the safety of the public and your crew. If any readers have pictures and/or accident accounts that would help further the effort of educating ourselves in the proper operation of emergency vehicles, please send them to me in care of Firehouse Magazine, 445 Broad Hollow Road, Melville, NY 11747.
Michael Wilbur, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is an FDNY lieutenant in Ladder Company 27 in the Bronx and a firefighter in the Howells, NY, Fire Department. He is an adjunct instructor at the New York State Academy of Fire Science and the Orange County Fire Training Center. Wilbur has developed and presented emergency vehicle operator courses throughout the country and has consulted on a variety of fire apparatus issues.