Chester and I were on our walk yesterday when I heard sirens. As I was turning off one street to go down another, I saw an ambulance turn onto the street that I was just leaving. Between the ambulance and the street I was now on, there were 2 school buses stopped at the school.
The first bus in line pulled away and left, and the 2nd bus pulled up where the first had been. The ambulance driver blasted his siren and the bus didn’t move any further.
I was kind of walking backwards to keep an eye on things, but could not see if there was enough room for the ambulance to get past the bus or not, and the driver of the ambulance kept his siren on. The bus driver pulled slightly into the school’s driveway, but the ambulance still did not or could not get past, so the siren continued. Finally the bus driver backed up a bit so he could completely pull into the driveway and the ambulance continued on.
No one was getting on or off the bus at this time, so I have no idea why the bus driver didn’t just move his bus. I am guessing that he was waiting for an aid to come out to collect his passenger(s). The ambulance obviously had the “right of way”.
But I once had an incident with an ambulance driver. I don’t think I’ve ever told this story, but the ambulance driver was unreasonable and arrogant under the circumstances.
I was on a divided 2 lanes each way, street and stopped in the left hand lane at a red light. I did not see or hear the ambulance until he was about 20 feet behind me when he turned on the siren. He had just come around a curve and turned it on when he saw me stopped in front of him. The lane to my right was empty and I was stopped. I thought that if I moved ahead and to the right, he would already be there quicker than I could be since he was moving – so I stayed where I was to stay out of his way. Instead of moving over, he came up behind me and blasted his horn to go along with his siren. I still didn’t want to go right and block that lane, so I pulled my left tires up onto the curb that divided the 2 way traffic – but amazingly enough, having a lane and a half still wasn’t enough for him, so I pulled right into the intersection to get out of the lane completely. Then he continued on.
The whole incident happened in seconds, but all of those seconds could have been avoided if he had just pulled around a stopped vehicle and used the open lane. If I had been moving, I certainly would have pulled over to the right – but stopping behind me to make me move from a stopped position was a waste of valuable time in an emergency.
I am sure that 99% of the ambulance drivers are more concerned about the patient than about their “right of way” and yes, he certainly did have the “right of way”. I hope that if I ever need an ambulance, he won’t be the driver – since his need for “right of way” seems to take precedence over his need to get help for his patient quickly.
I brought up my story just because I mentioned above that I could not tell if there was room for the ambulance to get past the school bus on one side of the street and the parked cars on the other. I assume the bus driver thought there was enough room, although certainly not as much as my ambulance driver had. I personally don’t think there would be enough room though. The street is not very wide and generally when cars are passing there, one will pull in between parked cars to let the other go by – so, with parked cars on one side and the school bus on the other, the ambulance would probably not have been able to get by.
Pictures I found online – not the bus or ambulance involved.