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May 13, 2010

Make way for the Emergency vehicle: But how?

How many times have we all suddenly heard the hooting of an ambulance/emergency vehicle out of nowhere? And as if this incident has the influence of Murphian laws, it happens mostly during the peak hour traffic. I have noticed this consistently for the last four days in Bangalore and my first reaction has always been to make way. But then, we are in Bangalore, where footpaths are considered as an alternative option to roads anytime they are all full. 

So while I want to make way, I'm helpless and so are thousands of others. At this point of time, I always end up thinking about what should be done:

  • What would be the options?
  • Whether these options are something which is commonly known to everyone on the road with or without a vehicle? 
  • Can technology be used in traffic signals like in few western countries. I don't think this will be a viable option considering our traffic sense and maturity.
While I can think of many more questions, I might just miss the point. How do we MAKE WAY ???

From having personally been in the traffic of Bangalore from the past 10 or so years, I can think of these must-do's.
  1. Try to move towards left or right corner depending on where the emergency vehicle is.
  2. Try passing on the message to the drivers who are ahead in line and ask them to cascade. This is specific in cases of long traffic jams like we have in bangalore.
  3. Most often the emergency vehicles take the one-way's. So always be vigilant in such times.
  4. Finally Do whatever possible in your capacity to make way for these vehicles.
Just before i post this I also wanted to check out what people think about this on the internet. On Yahoo Answers this was the best answer to the question asked by the asker. 

The law in the US is that all drivers must yield to emergency vehicles by getting out of the way and slowing or stopping in order to allow others in front or behind to follow suit.

On a regular road a driver shouldn't be an obstruction whether moving or not if they are out of the vehicle's path of travel. Oftentimes in heavy traffic, everyone can be limited by space to move to. This leaves the driver having to negotiate around vehicles in order to get through. Presumably, in heavily congested areas, if everyone moves a little over where they can and pays attention to where the path of travel is forming, they can get out of the way, but everyone following the law is required. Dolts who pay no attention to their surroundings and don't hear the siren are in my mind, the worst. They refuse to move out of the way and will block up a vehicle's only means of travel.

At an intersection or stop lights, its the same rule; get out of the way as much as possible, even if its just a few feet, or if you can, move to an area where you can, but be mindful that moving into an intersection could spell confusion once the emergency vehicle has passed and everyone begins to move again. Small moves over to the left or right are the best solution, if that's all you can do. 

When everyone is paying attention and cooperates, emergency vehicles should be able to have safe egress through traffic.

Make Way Please ! And NOW !!!