Is It An Emergency Vehicle?

Pickup TruckI was recently told a story by driver who stopped at an intersection and when checking for cross traffic was surprised to find a truck laying on the drivers side a short distance away. This driver assessed the situation and concluded that it had happened within the last few moments, a number of people had stopped to help and it appeared that the driver was out and shaken but unhurt. He turned right and drove away from the scene.

As he accelerated, he noticed another vehicle that was overtaking him rapidly headlights flashing and the driver gesticulating wildly. When the overtaking driver began to tailgate him closely and continue to flash the headlights he decided that discretion was the better part of valor and pulled over to let the vehicle past.

The agitated driver sped off and within a couple of blocks pulled into the fire department parking lot. He was medical first response for the pickup rollover! He was also driving his personal vehicle as if it were an emergency vehicle and he was wrong to do this. Not only did he confuse other traffic, had he caused a collision he might find that his insurance would not cover his vehicle for this use.

The only way this volunteer firefighter is authorized to disregard the rules of the road is when he is showing a flashing red light and sounding a siren. Otherwise, he must follow the road rules just the same way you and I are required to, emergency or not.

I admire our firefighters for the job that they do, but I worry when I hear stories like this. Everyone was at risk for a situation that did not require it. Of course, he could not know this, but I wonder if anyone told him what I was told when I started my job as a police officer: "you can't help if you don't get there."