When our fire academy instructor, Capt Greg Mowbray, preached of road safety and warned that vehicles will inevitably – or did he say “routinely?” – slalom through cones to cut through our emergency scene to get to where they’re going, I thought to myself, “there’s absolutely no way! Who would do that?” Well, it took no more than a month as a firefighter until I witnessed it myself and have seen it at least a half dozen times or more in the past 4 years. Most recently, just last week on a midnight personal injury accident call I responded to, it happened again; a pickup sped around E31 which was positioned to block eastbound Grand River, through the cones enclosing our scene, and around E30 which was blocking westbound traffic. Fortunately, and unbeknownst to the driver, a Michigan State Police patrol car was just 50 yards behind him and immediately pursued the driver.
We beg you – please respect our emergency lights and cones the next time you approach one of our scenes then patiently wait for direction to proceed. Take our word, we’re trying to get the road back in order as quickly as we can; we don’t like working in traffic any more than you like sitting it in your vehicle. And if you think that you’re having a bad day and running late to an appointment, take a minute to gain some perspective by considering how the victim’s day is going? Or how my family’s day will go when Chief has to report to them that I’m also en-route to Ann Arbor in an ambulance because somebody recklessly sped through our scene.
Here are a few traffic safety tips regarding emergency vehicles that we ask you to take a minute to familiarize yourself with:
- Upon approaching a potential accident scene, cones, traffic directors, and/or an emergency vehicle, immediately slow your vehicle and proceed toward the scene. Look for a temporary traffic shift denoted by cones or flares or a responder assisting with traffic control. If you are uncertain how to proceed or whether there is even a temporary path around the scene, just stay put. We’ll come direct you when we’re available.
- Be sure to yield to emergency vehicles by immediately driving to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway then stop until the emergency vehicle has passed
- Please review the following excerpts from Michigan Vehicle Code Act 300 pertaining to yielding to emergency vehicles:
- Michigan’s Emergency Vehicle Caution Law – https://www.michigan.gov/documents/MDOT_Vehicle_Caution_Law_116834_7.pdf