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Emergency Vehicles

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Emergency Vehicles

Postby Ninja » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:43 pm

People understand that when they see an ambulence rolling up behind them that they just need to move right, right? That everyone will be moving as right as possible and everyone will find a place on the curb and it will all be fine, right?

Even on Sherman, which is a clusterfuck, there are things we can do make this situation easier and potentially help the person in the back of the ambulence realize a better result. And make things a lot easier on the person driving that ambulence too.

There are so many deficincies in Madison driving behavior, but most of them seem to cancel out and result in few accidents. But if you're holding up an emergency vehicle then you need to learn how to act.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby wack wack » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:58 am

Ninja wrote:People understand that when they see an ambulence rolling up behind them that they just need to move right, right? That everyone will be moving as right as possible and everyone will find a place on the curb and it will all be fine, right?


Based on observation, I'd guess the correct response to an ambulance is to keep speeding up to stay ahead of it until the very last second; pull over to the side only if you can't possibly make it to your next turn before the ambulance smacks your bumper; then pull out again behind it as quickly as possible in order to maximize your benefit from his right-of-way.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:11 am

Ninja wrote:People understand that when they see an ambulence rolling up behind them that they just need to move right, right?
Gosh, I didn't know that. I mean, I knew you're supposed to pull over and grant them right-of-way, but I was ignorant of the fact that you're always supposed to move to the right. (And I checked the City of Madison website to confirm this, and it is so.) So nice job, Ninja. You've educated at least one person here today.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby Madsci » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:48 pm

If all the vehicles moved to the right, this would work nicely. So in theory pulling to the right should work.
Have you ever been in the left lane of a multi-lane road and have everybody move to the left? This has happened to me twice in heavy traffic. Once on J. Nolen and once on University. I went with the flow so the emergency vehicles could proceed down the middle. Another time I was in a left-turn lane with traffic to my right when an ambulance suddenly pulled up behind me. I waited for the cross traffic to stop and then kinda did a u-turn to get out of the way.
I have also had to jump the curb on my bike (at least 3 times) when the ambulance came down the bike lane (twice the bike lane was on the right).
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby snoqueen » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:18 pm

Ideally you should move to the right, but the main thing is to get out of the way. If the spaces on the right are blocked for some reason, find another way to move.

My late father drove our village rescue vehicle for years and people not getting out of the way was his ongoing complaint. The drive to the county hospital could be miles and miles, he'd be "running hot" (lights and siren) and he'd get some idiot in front of him going about 35 mph and oblivious, the whole way. The emergency vehicle wasn't supposed to pass on the highway -- instead cars were supposed to move over -- so sometimes there weren't a lot of options except to wait it out and hope.

This has been a problem for years, and isn't something new or unique to Madison. You're doing the right thing if you somehow make space for the ambulance -- nobody's going to come after you if you have to do something nonstandard.

Another reason not to turn up the sound real loud in your car, by the way. If you hear the siren from a longer distance, you have more time to pull to the right and make it easy.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby Ninja » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:24 pm

wack wack wrote: then pull out again behind it as quickly as possible in order to maximize your benefit from his right-of-way.


That just kills me too. What's the point?
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby Ninja » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:32 pm

Also I don't understand why Madison hasn't put in the money to get one of those fancy systems that coordinate traffic lights with emergency vehicle paths. We've got tons of stupid shit but we can't have that?
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby snoqueen » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:38 pm

We do have that. Emergency vehicles can give themselves green lights on demand. Just watch sometime, it works really well.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby Ninja » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:41 pm

Madsci wrote:Have you ever been in the left lane of a multi-lane road and have everybody move to the left?).


I've been on Aberg in front of Copps and watched the people in the right lane try to go left while the people in the left lane try to go right, and the amber lamps had to drive through the seperate left turn lane to proceed back onto Aberg. It made me feel ill, and now I see that kind of thing happen on Sherman quite frequently.

I'm not usually one for orthodoxy, but in this situation, at the very least, we should all be on the same page.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby Ninja » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:43 pm

snoqueen wrote:We do have that. Emergency vehicles can give themselves green lights on demand. Just watch sometime, it works really well.


Really? Did we buy the discount version, because it doesn't seem to work like I've experienced in other cities. Shouldn't there be little strobe light looking things on all the traffic light bars?
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby snoqueen » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:52 pm

The light just turns red on the cross streets and green for the ambulance, the goes back to its regular cycle. Then the next intersection does the same, and the ambulance gets greens all the way to the ER. Fire trucks can do it too. I think it's something they can activate from the dashboard.

Why do they need a strobe light?
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby wack wack » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:30 am

Ninja wrote:
snoqueen wrote:We do have that. Emergency vehicles can give themselves green lights on demand. Just watch sometime, it works really well.


Really? Did we buy the discount version, because it doesn't seem to work like I've experienced in other cities. Shouldn't there be little strobe light looking things on all the traffic light bars?


Yes, we do have them at many intersections, and this answers your "what's the point" question about people "drafting" behind ambulances: to take advantage of the "emergency green" before it snaps back to red.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby wack wack » Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:33 am

snoqueen wrote:Why do they need a strobe light?


I don't think they need a strobe light, but many of these controlled intersections have a strobe atop the stoplights which flash when an emergency vehicle's "auto change" switch has been activated, giving those at the intersection (who are paying attention) notice that an emergency vehicle is approaching and the lights will change soon.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby Ninja » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:42 am

wack wack wrote:
Ninja wrote:
snoqueen wrote:We do have that. Emergency vehicles can give themselves green lights on demand. Just watch sometime, it works really well.


Really? Did we buy the discount version, because it doesn't seem to work like I've experienced in other cities. Shouldn't there be little strobe light looking things on all the traffic light bars?


Yes, we do have them at many intersections, and this answers your "what's the point" question about people "drafting" behind ambulances: to take advantage of the "emergency green" before it snaps back to red.


I guess I've never noticed them here, but that does explain the drafting issue.
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Re: Emergency Vehicles

Postby Ninja » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:46 am

wack wack wrote:
snoqueen wrote:Why do they need a strobe light?


I don't think they need a strobe light, but many of these controlled intersections have a strobe atop the stoplights which flash when an emergency vehicle's "auto change" switch has been activated, giving those at the intersection (who are paying attention) notice that an emergency vehicle is approaching and the lights will change soon.


Are they really designed just to alert drivers? I always assumed there was some kind of superscience going on that involved light and sensors and stuff like that, but I'm a moron when it comes to science, so my assumptions about it are often wrong.

If it's designed to signal drivers then why isn't it a giant flashing sign that says "Hey dumbass, turn down your stereo and look in your rear view mirror?" That would seem to be more effective.
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