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  1. #1
    newguy
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post which lane to drive in

    Just the other day responding to a call my Lt. told me to go through the intersection in the right lane because there was a open lane on the right. It was my understanding that when going thgrough and intersection we were to be in the far left lane or in the on comming traffic if needed. I proceded through the intersection on the left and got yelled at. Is there a law or some guideline to follow when responding to a call.



  2. #2
    fireman_387
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry

    Newguy, check with the statutes in your particular state regarding emergency vehicle driving. As a general rule your officer was in the wrong. We train the public to pull to the right when they hear sirens approaching and by your officer telling you to go right he "untimately" took on the risk of having you change. "IF" and only "IF" you must go to the right in an intersection you had better do it at a snails pace allowing you to be able to stop at a instant. If he wants to dispute this, do some research on what is called "Code 3 emergency driving" it was a training series widely used in the mid-80's.

  3. #3
    Gooch26
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I guess I have a different opinion on the subject guys. The way I was taught was, you went to the oncoming lane only as a last resort. After all, the last place any motorist expects you to be is right in front of them bearing down on them at an intersection. I was always told we really didn't have much of a leg to stand on legally, what right do we have to cross over the yellow line? Especially if there is an open lane on our side? At any rate, common sense must prevail, meaning, slow down or even stop when you get into an intersection against the light. The lights and sirens and air horns don't shield us, they just alert drivers of our presence, the attentive one's that is. We all know how inattentive drivers can be these days. From children fussing to cell phones to sound proof cars or sound systems that vibrate your fillings, there are so many more things out in the world vying for a drivers attention besides us. Which means we have to be that much more carefull in our responses, because the average driver won't. These are just my opinions and are not meant to upset any one, please just take them for what they are worth. God bless and stay safe.
    Randall Guntrum FF/EMT

    If lights, siren and airhorn do not attract the attention of a driver, he or she is too drunk to be assisted by a paint scheme.

  4. #4
    fireman_387
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Randall, by no means am I saying run through the intersection in oncoming traffic at 60 mph, but you in your own words give reason and need to be "in front" of the driver (at intersections) with the cell phones, radios, etc.; you get noticed if you are seen. You are correct in the difficulty in being heard but, I would hate to pull along the right side of a driver that was "distracted" by whatever means just to have him pull into our side trying to get out of our way as I passed him, the fault would be mine.

  5. #5
    sloepoke1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Newguy, check with the statutes in your particular state regarding emergency vehicle driving.

    This is the best advice that could be given.

    "IF" and only "IF" you must go to the right in an intersection you had better do it at a snails pace allowing you to be able to stop at an instant.

    Here in Kentucky all those pretty red lights and noisy siren and horns DO NOT give you the right of way so you better slow down in an intersection any way!!!
    As far as going into on coming trafic to get through an intersection that should be a big NO NO in any ones book. Why would you want to risk innocent lives to save a second on your response time?

    While on this subject I have a question. I am a trucker by trade and have heard that in some states, Ohio for example; they teach drivers to pull to the nearest shoulder to yield to emergency vehicles. Such as when on a multi-lane highway they are taught to pull to the left shoulder if they are driving in the left lane so as to yield to an emergency vehicle. Where as here in Kentucky we are taught to always to pull to the right as fireman_387 said earlier. Can anyone clarify this for me as I live in an area that is close to the interstate and we are forced to use it when transporting patients to the hospital?


  6. #6
    ALSfirefighter
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Gooch,

    For me my legal leg to stand on as far as being across the yellow line is, I have the "right of way" privlidge and am allowed to break any motor traffic law as long as..my lights/siren is on, and I proceed w/ due regard. I'm w/387, we tell people to move to the right, that should (except rush hour here) give you somewhat of a clear lane down the middle of the road. Plus the fact that is what our instructor taught us in the academy, he's already testified in numerous cases.

    ============================== =============
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

  7. #7
    Gooch26
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Hi, I just wanted to say that your points about confusing the public and teaching them to yield to the right were well recieved. I understand where you are coming from and it has changed my out look on the subject. But I do want to say something about having the "right of way". Please don't get upset because that's certainly not my intention to upset anyone. But the thing is, we may have the right of way legaly, but you only truly have it when the other motorist gives it to you and yields properly. My one instructor told me about an accident where the one driver kept saying she had the right of way. And it was true she did, but the thing is the other driver didn't yield to it and caused the accident. I'm just saying right of way doesn't mean much if they don't yield. This instructor also told me something that I think really sums it up, don't go into an intersection "demanding" the right of way, go in as if you are "asking" for the right of way. Because whether or not you can go through the intersection safely all depends on the actions or reactions of the other drivers. God bless and stay safe.
    Randall Guntrum FF/EMT

  8. #8
    fireman_387
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Randall, you are very much correct. I drive aggressively but not to the point that I don't have control or lose the ability to ask for the right of way. Here in KY you had better ask and not demand.

  9. #9
    ALSfirefighter
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Ditto here also Randall. And to clarify my post a little more about taking the oncoming lane, its been my experience that it has always been easier to gain the right of way in the oncoming lane then when you advance up on the right side. I'm not saying to go 30 Mph hour, but if you crawl, and people see you coming head on and hear you making a lot of noise, they will give you the right away. Either that or they are entirely crazy. I know of a few companies in Manhatten that will tell you that they can get to a scene quicker if they go the wrong way up a one way street. One thing to keep in mind also is that when you look in your mirrors, which side of your personal vehicle is a better view given. The left side. Your rear view mirror is tilted in that direction, and for most people your first instinct is to look in your left mirror. Newguy the only thing I can tell you, is when your are the driver, that is your vehicle, you do what you think is safe, a little butt chewing isn't nothing. If he doesn't like it, tell him to drive. Eventually he will approach the intersection, and when a few cars can't find him, they will instinctively pull to the right and hit him.

    ============================== ==============
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

  10. #10
    pwc606
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    I was always told that you listen to the officer in the seat. Now a coma followed that and went on to say that you are responsible for the vehicle actions, not him. If you do something that is wrong even if he told you to, you butt is in the pan. He wont be getting the ticket or the letter in his file about how you drive. If it is against your better judgement dont do it. I would rather get yelled at for not doing the wrong thing that get yelled at for doing the wrong thing. Use good sound morale judgement while you drive that thing. After all a lot is riding on it.

  11. #11
    ntvilleff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Newguy,

    As ALS stated, you are the driver. You are ultimately (and legally) responsible for the apparatus. If he chews your a** out, tell him like I've told my Lt. "Next time you drive and I'll sit in the officers seat".
    I will never go into the right lane even if it is open also for the above reasons. You are changing the environment of the intersection when you approach. If the drivers in your artea are taught to pull over to the right why go there? The odds that some little ol' lady is going to pull into you are great. Also if someone pulls into the right in front of you where do you go now?

  12. #12
    Davidjb
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    As a former driver/ operator with my dept (and yes, I do miss it!) I can tell you when I was driving I would use MY judgement, MY common sence, and MY experience when driving to a scene, I would keep an ear out for alerts from the officer, but other than that my entire attention was focused on where I wanted that truck to go and what the general public was doing. As someone stated, it's your butt on the line in that seat.
    Now, as an officer, I give the same coutesy to my drivers, if I see a danger I alert them to it, but it is not my job to drive anymore, it's their's.

    ------------------
    David Brooks,
    Lieutenant, NRFR
    Newmarket Fire & Rescue
    Newmarket, New Hampshire
    www.NewmarketNH.com/fire
    (All opinions are my own)

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