Lights and Sirens

PeteSCC

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This is a question for drivers.

Suppose you're running red and come to a red traffic light where all four lanes has four cars backed up in front of you and there is no way to either squeeze through or go around the stopped cars.

Do you continue to sound the siren? (If you'd change to another sound, that constitutes a "yes.")

Thanks,

Pete
 

DesertMedic66

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A lot of this is going to come down to company policy.

My state/county/city has no guidelines on what they want us to do but my company requires that we turn off the lights and sirens and wait for the light to turn green.
 

PeteSCC

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Thanks! I agree, but others in my org do not agree... At present, there is nothing in writing that addresses about this at the company level. If I hear many more that agree with you I plan to escalate the issue.
 

StCEMT

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I turn sirens off, but leave lights on then hang back about 75 yards. That way people (usually) get the idea that I'm not pushing them, but once it's green they still need to move.
 

GMCmedic

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I always chose the turn lane, hung back a ways, and shut everything off. When the light turns green I turn everything back on, by then most everyone has seen me and was prepared to act appropriately.

Turn lane because that's usually the one to turn green first.
 

CbrMonster

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The thing i’ve Always dealt with is this, say a car goes through the red light to make a hole for you(pushing) and causes an accident in every county I have worked in you could if not will be held responsible for that accident. I side with most agencies in that we shouldn’t push people through a red light. We should shut down give cars a moment to start going then light it up again.
 

CCCSD

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What gain do you get sitting there going whoop whoop when no one can move?
 

PeteSCC

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The thing i’ve Always dealt with is this, say a car goes through the red light to make a hole for you(pushing) and causes an accident in every county I have worked in you could if not will be held responsible for that accident. I side with most agencies in that we shouldn’t push people through a red light. We should shut down give cars a moment to start going then light it up again.
So would you turn off the lights as well as the siren?
 

Jim37F

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I turn sirens off, but leave lights on then hang back about 75 yards. That way people (usually) get the idea that I'm not pushing them, but once it's green they still need to move.
That's what I always did. Leave enough space so I'm not "pushing anyone" but I left the lights on so no one forgets the ambulance is still trying to get thru or think we're cancelled and then tried to pull in front of us in said space.
 

DesertMedic66

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That's what I always did. Leave enough space so I'm not "pushing anyone" but I left the lights on so no one forgets the ambulance is still trying to get thru or think we're cancelled and then tried to pull in front of us in said space.
I’ve had partners do that but IME that will usually make cars go into the intersection on the red. I’ve had no issues with turning lights and siren off a ways back and then just pulling up behind someone like I am driving normally. Wait for the light to turn green and then turn back on when cars are through the intersection.
 

Peak

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It depends greatly on the situation so I don't think that there is a simple answer to this. This also greatly depends on your department policies and local laws regarding emergency traffic.

If I truly couldn't move and lights/sirens wouldn't do anything for me then there is no point to leaving them on. It causes increased stress for the crew and patient if being transported. Why would you have lights/sirens on if there is no possibility that they decrease transport time?

Rarely is there truly such a no-win situation. If I really needed to move I would consider crossing the median into the opposing lane or something similar. We also know that lights/sirens have often shown to have no or limited value to decreasing transport time, so I'm not that hung up if I can't use them.
 

DrParasite

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Suppose you're running red and come to a red traffic light where all four lanes has four cars backed up in front of you and there is no way to either squeeze through or go around the stopped cars.

Do you continue to sound the siren? (If you'd change to another sound, that constitutes a "yes.")
Pete, why would you continue to sound the siren? if there is nowhere to go, you are either going to a) have people run the red light and cross into the intersection or b) just really annoy the drivers who are unable to move.

I'd leave my lights on, and wait patiently for the light to turn green. I don't like turning my lights on and off, as some drivers might get confused with the lights going on and off, but leaving a siren on when no one can move, and no one can legally move, serves very little purpose (unless you want to follow the letter of the law, which says if your lights are on, your siren should be on too, in which case, it's either all or nothing)
 

CANMAN

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Pete, why would you continue to sound the siren? if there is nowhere to go, you are either going to a) have people run the red light and cross into the intersection or b) just really annoy the drivers who are unable to move.

I'd leave my lights on, and wait patiently for the light to turn green. I don't like turning my lights on and off, as some drivers might get confused with the lights going on and off, but leaving a siren on when no one can move, and no one can legally move, serves very little purpose (unless you want to follow the letter of the law, which says if your lights are on, your siren should be on too, in which case, it's either all or nothing)
This..... If you can't move lights remain on as to not cause driver confusion and then when you get the green and are moving siren goes back on. If there is an open on-coming lane I will chose that almost always over pushing people through an intersection at a red light. If they have a red light, most likely the on-coming traffic from opposing side does as well. The little traffic that may be coming in on-coming lane seems to be more responsive to moving out of the way to avoid a head on collision with a fire truck or ambo then the mindless idiots on the phone, texting and driving, etc when you're motoring down behind them IMO.
 

PeteSCC

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Lest we not understand my reason for asking, be aware that I'm not a driver, I simply sit in the passenger's seat on the way to a call and in the back if we transport. To make sure I understand where the respondents to my question really stand, let's change the scenario so that instead of four cars in each lane, there is only one car in each of the four lanes.

Would your position of "cut the siren - and possibly the lights" remain the same?
 

DrParasite

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Pete, the question is what do you want the other drivers to do? If its safe for all 4 drivers to pull to the right from the stop line (keeping in mind that cars can't move right, they need to move forward and right), and you feel the situation warrants it, and it's safe for all to do, fine.

If one of those cars pulls forward and to the right, and then gets T boned by a box truck in the middle of the intersection (the truck had the right of way) whose fault is it? and have you helped or hindered the original person who you called 911 for?

Can I safely cross the double yellow line, with is generally frowned upon) with my lights and sirens on, and proceed through the intersection? or is it a divided highway? Can I safely pass on the shoulder (which is also generally frowned upon), to clear the intersection?

As a driver, I would rather all the drivers pull to the right, so I can pass on the left. my second choices is all drivers stop, and allow me to go around them. I don't cross multi lane highways (3+ lanes in each direction) against the light EVER, because it's just not safe. nor will I push other drivers into the intersection.

You have helped no one with your actions results in a crash.
 

CbrMonster

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Lest we not understand my reason for asking, be aware that I'm not a driver, I simply sit in the passenger's seat on the way to a call and in the back if we transport. To make sure I understand where the respondents to my question really stand, let's change the scenario so that instead of four cars in each lane, there is only one car in each of the four lanes.

Would your position of "cut the siren - and possibly the lights" remain the same?

Nothing changes all lanes are blocked whether it’s by a smart car or 5 big rigs.
 

DesertMedic66

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Lest we not understand my reason for asking, be aware that I'm not a driver, I simply sit in the passenger's seat on the way to a call and in the back if we transport. To make sure I understand where the respondents to my question really stand, let's change the scenario so that instead of four cars in each lane, there is only one car in each of the four lanes.

Would your position of "cut the siren - and possibly the lights" remain the same?
Yes. As long as there is traffic in all the lanes (no matter how much) and I am not able to oppose traffic for some reason then everything will get shut off. The light could be blocked by the wienermobile, the batmobile, the popemobile, and a M1 Abrams and I will still shut down.
 

DesertMedic66

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Pete, why would you continue to sound the siren? if there is nowhere to go, you are either going to a) have people run the red light and cross into the intersection or b) just really annoy the drivers who are unable to move.

I'd leave my lights on, and wait patiently for the light to turn green. I don't like turning my lights on and off, as some drivers might get confused with the lights going on and off, but leaving a siren on when no one can move, and no one can legally move, serves very little purpose (unless you want to follow the letter of the law, which says if your lights are on, your siren should be on too, in which case, it's either all or nothing)
This is going to vary by state. Not all states require an all or nothing rule however it is the policy of a decent amount of ambulance companies.
 

hometownmedic5

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This is going to vary by state. Not all states require an all or nothing rule however it is the policy of a decent amount of ambulance companies.
As a first cut rule, it makes total sense. I can’t stand when someone driving me tries to sneak up on a call. Driving with lights and siren is inherently unsafe. There’s no need to make it more so by only using half your warning system until you’re four inches off the car in front of you’s bumper, causing panic and unpredictability.

That being said, all rules have exceptions. If there’s no traffic in front of you and you’re not approaching an intersection, perhaps the siren can have a rest break for a moment.
 
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