Emergency Vehicles

Information related to emergency vehicles and their operation.

Think Ahead

Emergency Scene Ahead SignThe rain is pounding down outside this morning as I sit looking out my livingroom window with tablet and coffee in hand. I'm warm and dry enjoying the idea that being retired means I am no longer on the highway investigating collisions in this weather. Of course, Murphy was listening...

Is It Legal For The Police to Drive Like That?

Red Traffic SignalThe C.F.S.E.U. was in the news this week, probably not in the way they would have liked. You may have seen the dash cam videos from Richmond showing a number of vehicles apparently brazenly running red lights. The story hit the news amid amazed comments about how bad drivers were becoming in the Lower Mainland.

Q&A - Freeway Crossovers

Q&A ImageAll freeways in BC appear to have cross over sections that connect the seperated highways.  These sections all have do not enter signs on each side.  What type of vehicle or driver is permitted to enter these sections of the highway?

Make Way to Give Way

AmbulanceSirens! I'm being overtaken by an ambulance on the way to a call. Signal, move out of the right lane onto the shoulder and stop. Traffic around me seems to be well aware today too as they are doing much the same thing.

Emergency right of way is being granted promptly until the ambulance reaches traffic stopped for a red light at an intersection. This is where the emergency response grinds to a halt as the stationary drivers don't seem to be either willing or able to get out of the way.

Priority for Emergency Vehicles at Traffic Lights

Traffic & Emergency SignalsWhen you need the services of firefighters or paramedics seconds can seem like hours. Sooner is always better in situations like this so some traffic lights are equipped with sensors that listen for sirens and change the signals to make way for emergency vehicles. Not knowing what the priority signal lights meant led one driver to make a choice that could have resulted in a collision in a Ladysmith intersection.

Making Way for Emergency Vehicles

Fire TruckA reader was travelling in a major municipality recently and was stopped in a large collection of vehicles waiting for a red light at the intersection of two multiple lane highways. Emergency vehicles using lights and sirens approached from the rear and tried to get through the traffic and the intersection. There was significant difficulty and the reader was curious how far forward vehicles could move into the cross flow of traffic to assist in clearing a path.

CASE LAW - R v Jacobson

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThe police must follow the provisions of the Emergency Vehicle Driving Regulation when they intend to employ the exemption from the rules of the road set out in the Motor Vehicle Act. In this case, Constable Jacobson was driving his police vehicle on Highway 97 at Daimler Drive in West Kelowna approaching a red light. Hoping to save a few minutes arriving at a complaint he activated the police vehicles's emergency lights and siren about 4 - 5 vehicle lengths’ back from the beginning of the left turn lane on Highway 97 going south. He attempted to make a left hand turn in the intersection and was struck by a northbound Jetta.

Look Ahead! Look Waaaay Ahead!

BinocularsImagine making a lane change and crashing into a fully marked police vehicle stopped at the side of the highway with all of its emergency lights operating. I can only guess that the driver was not properly scanning his environment and looking far enough ahead to anticipate issues before they happen. It might also be time to consider offsetting the police vehicle to the right rather than the left when working on the freeway.

The 70/40 Rule - Slow Down, Move Over

A reader reports that she was driving to Nanaimo and somewhere around Cook Creek there was a black vehicle with several flashing lights stationary at the side of the road. The road was not particularly busy and she was in the curbside lane.  As she approached, traveling at the posted 110 kph. She gradually reduced her speed, checked her mirrors and moved into the outer lane so that she was traveling at 70 kph before she drew alongside the vehicle.  As seh passed this vehicle she could see police officer walking in front of the vehicle, taking photographs into the ditch.

Q&A - Emergency Equipment for Volunteer Firefighters

Q&A ImageJust wondering what "discharge of a members duties" means? Also I'm wondering why BC doesn't have a flashing light policy for Volunteer Firefighters? There are quite a few volunteer halls here in Victoria that would benefit in response times if they could utilize flashing lights and possibly even sirens.

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