First Responders Urge Drivers to Yield - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/04/03

First Responders Urge Drivers to Yield

Unresponsive drivers can delay rescuers. Unresponsive drivers can delay rescuers.

What do you do when you're driving along and you hear sirens and an ambulance or fire truck is trying to get by? Some people don't do anything. We spoke with emergency officials who want motorists to move out of the way. What a lot of people don't understand is that how they react can affect the lives of those in emergency situations.

In an emergency situation, first responders need to get there quickly and one of the biggest things preventing that is other motorists.

"In traffic situations, or situations where people don't yield, it slows us down that much more," said Capt. Mike Metivier of SFD's Rescue Company 2.

To prove its point, the Savannah Fire Department took us for ride. When they hit the lights and turned on their sirens, some motorists didn't seem to know what to do.

The rule of thumb is simple. "The law states, as quickly as possible and as safely as possible, move to the right side of the road," explained Capt. Earl Spikes.

Sounds simple enough, but a lot of motorists don't follow that simple rule. Some keep on going, some just stop and some don't know what to do. And that can cause some serious problems.

"The biggest issue we have is when people fail to yield to the right, we anticipate what people are going to go, but they don't always do what they're supposed to do," said Capt. Metivier.

And if you can't pull to the right, Capt. Spikes advised, "just try to watch what the other people are doing. They're moving to the right or left, go with them, try to open up as much of a lane as possible for the vehicles to go through."

The longer it takes motorists to move, the longer somebody in an emergency has to wait. "You need to give them some room, they're going somewhere where there's an emergency," said Capt. Spikes. "The longer it takes them to get there, the more chance the fire has to build or the longer somebody is trapped in an accident."

First responders also say try not to panic and just do your best to get out of the way, safely, so they can do their job.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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