Seattle drivers can’t seem to handle themselves around emergency vehicles

Apr 21, 2015, 7:08 AM | Updated: 5:24 pm
Seattle-area drivers seem to have a "don't you dare try to get in front of me" attitude. (AP)

Sometimes, it seems like Seattle drivers don’t know what to do when they see emergency lights in their rear-view mirrors, or they just don’t care.

If law enforcement or emergency vehicles are behind you, the rule under state law is to pull over to the right when it’s safe to do so and bring your vehicle to a complete stop, King County Medic One paramedic Jake Rosenblum explained. Pulling over to the right might not be feasible, so drivers are asked to move over as much as possible and slow down.

What’s your chokepoint?

During his 13 years behind the wheel, Rosenblum has seen it all from Seattle-area drivers. That includes people trying to outrun emergency vehicles, or simply not noticing &#8212 or pretending not to notice.

And there is the one thing many drivers do that is absolutely wrong.

“The most common thing we see is when people see our lights in their rear-view mirror, they slam on their brakes,” Rosenblum said. “That’s the worst thing you can do.”

Drivers also tend to refuse to let others into the same lane to let emergency vehicles pass.

“We’ll see people that have their turn signal on, honking their horn to alert other drivers, and the person next to them will keep driving like it doesn’t matter.”

Seattle-area drivers seem to have a “don’t you dare try to get in front of me” attitude. KIRO Radio listener Chelsea Cameron knows all about this.

Cameron’s daughter was bitten by a rattlesnake last year, and she had three ambulance rides over five days trying to get to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

She watched car after car refusing to get out of the way of the ambulance and all she could see was the clock ticking against her daughter’s survival with every delay.

Put yourself in that ambulance, and what would you want the driver in front of it to do: “It would be nice if people thought like that, obviously not everyone does,” Rosenblum said.


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Seattle drivers can’t seem to handle themselves around emergency vehicles