Friday, February 20, 2009

Where's the fire?

Its amazing how many drivers have no idea how to react if a fire truck or other emergency services vehicle comes charging up behind them with there lights flashing.

Whats even more frightening is how many people have no idea of the presence of an emergency vehicle behind them, what with modern car having aircon and us being in the midst of global warming (Although watching the news from the Northern Hemisphere one has some doubts.) we tend to drive with our windows up and our 7.2 surround sound stereos isolating us from the rest of the outside world.

Now if only they could invent something for us to be able to see behind us, so we could anticipate things like this. The lipstick mirror they mount on the windscreen would be ideal for this, unfortunately its not positioned in such away to allow us to look rearward, but rather set up for its primary purpose to allow us to groom ourselves while stationary at traffic lights.

Its a case of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

One day while on a routine patrol we chased an individual 16km for jumping a Traffic light and eventually caught up with him at a roadblock (set up for him) to find him blissfully unaware that there had been a Police car behind him the whole time with sirens and blue lights. His aftermarket stereo was worth more than the car, and who uses mirrors?

Pete Piringer, spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire Department says. "There's no question that the most dangerous part of most emergency calls these days is getting there."

This is a big deal for fire and police departments. The confusion hurts response times and fully 25 percent of fire fighter fatalities are as a result of traffic accidents, according to Montgomery Division Chief Richie Bowers
- Extract from an article by Steve Hendrix Posted at

At the end of the day its more about being aware of the situation than it is about how we deal with it. If we use our mirrors and pay attention we will be able to anticipate the oncoming fire truck and be able to react to its needs.

If we learn these skills and apply them to all our driving situations it would undoubtedly improve road safety as people will start anticipating accidents.

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