Crash with ambulance sparks reminder to pull over for emergencies
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A crash on State Route 163 involving a United Ambulance and at least two other cars backed up traffic for miles early Tuesday.
Although the cause of the crash is under investigation, it’s an important reminder that cars need to stop when an emergency vehicle is nearby because following this law could save a life.
When the sirens go off and you see an ambulance, or any emergency vehicle, you have one option.
“Start looking to see if they’re behind me, so I can pull over to the right,” said Michelle D’Asaro, Resident of Downtown San Diego Resident.
As most of us have seen, that’s not always the case.
“Yesterday I saw nobody pull over,” said D’Asaro. “The ambulance kinda got stuck behind people on Imperial.”
“They’re not obeying the law, for one thing, and it’s a public safety issue because there could be someone that needs to get to the hospital right away,” said David King, Resident of Mission Valley.
KUSI obtained aerial video Tuesday morning that showed a crash on State Route 163 in Mission Valley. It involved a United Ambulance and at least two other cars.
Traffic was backed up for miles during the busy Tuesday morning commute.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but it brought to light an important reminder about what to do when you see an ambulance.
“We don’t want that emergency vehicle to have to swerve through traffic,” said Lt. Brent Williams, Public Information Officer for the San Diego Police Department.
Lt. Williams said it’s not a courtesy. It’s the law.
When you look through the rearview mirror and see those flashing lights, don’t panic. Calmly pull to the right and stop.
“So we don’t want them to be involved in an accident with any other vehicles on the roadway that may slow them to get to where they’re going,” said Lt. Williams.
Pulling over on a freeway can be a little more complicated, depending on the time of day and traffic. Lt. Williams said drivers should still push to the right and give the emergency vehicles access to the fast lanes.
“Please slow down and move out of the way and allow emergency personnel to move through because they’re potentially going to save a life,” said Lt. Williams.
When an ambulance is on a call, a life could be on the line. Giving an emergency vehicle the space it needs is vital because every second counts.
“So it means that us getting there is important and, if for some reason, we’re caught in traffic, or become involved in a collision, we are gonna delay the help the citizens out there need,” said Lt. Williams.
An AMR Ambulance was not involved in the crash, but the folks over at AMR wanted to reinforce the importance of pulling over.
“When you hear and see an emergency vehicle approaching from behind with its lights flashing, it’s important that everyone pull over to the right as quickly and safely as possible,” said Madeleine D. Baudoin, Government and Public Affairs Manager for AMR. “Doing so allows first responders to rapidly reach victims in critical times of need.
This is the law, so if you’re pulled over, you can be cited. Failing to move over when an emergency vehicle is passing is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. That also comes with a hefty fine up to $250.