Voice of Real Australia: Let emergency vehicles pass, your loved one could be inside

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Chris McLennan is a national property writer for Australian Community Media and lives at Bacchus Marsh in Victoria.

PAY ATTENTION: Have we become more selfish as drivers, allow emergency vehicles like ambulances to pass when it is safe to do so. Picture: Ambulance Victoria.

PAY ATTENTION: Have we become more selfish as drivers, allow emergency vehicles like ambulances to pass when it is safe to do so. Picture: Ambulance Victoria.

It pays to imagine a loved one is fighting for their life inside the ambulance with lights flashing and siren blaring as it fills your car's rear view mirror.

That's assuming you don't know the road laws.

Too many motorists are not pulling over.

Once upon a time I remember when you first heard the siren of an emergency vehicle that was enough to be on the alert and start slowing down to prepare to move over or even stop.

That courtesy seems to have vanished.

My wife and I have witnessed lots of occasions now where motorists take no notice.

Just recently while coming home from work to our country town along the Western Freeway, about an hour from Melbourne, my wife pulled over and stopped to let the ambulance safe passage.

She was the only one who did.

The ambulance, with lights and siren activated, was held up in the peak hour traffic. Admittedly, the freeway was crowded with traffic.

This "rush to the regions" stuff is all very well if you want to escape the pandemic lockdowns in the city but infrastructure sure has a long way to catch up.

We pay public servants to plan ahead for our transport needs, decades in advance. If it worked on election cycles we would get nowhere.

The pandemic came from nowhere, it was not planned for.

Fewer people in the cities, more working from home, fewer on the trains, people heading bush.

It will take some time for the planners to catch up, I don't envy them.

The roads are often choked with traffic. It makes for delayed progress for our emergency vehicles. Especially if cars don't pull over.

There is a rider in the laws that motorists don't have to pull over or make way if it's not safe to do so.

A driver could argue it's not that safe pulling over on a freeway into an emergency lane at such busy times. As my wife carefully did.

Or facing the wrath of other drivers by slowing down and indicating you want to move left.

But it seems their safety concerns are more to do about re-joining the traffic stream after the ambulance has gone.

Country courtesy is a bit thin on the ground - maybe it's a pandemic thing.

People just want to get home after a hard day's work and blow the rest of you.

Okay, throw the rule book out the window along with your McDonald's wrappers, but please take my advice and consider what if the emergency is close to home.

Or, one day perhaps it might be you.

Or at least consider, some poor sod is lying in that ambulance needing emergency attention, whether we know them or not.

The quicker they get to hospital the better.

It's not as if it happens that frequently - the ambulance wanting you to make way.

No one likes sudden moves from other vehicles on the highway, but we all expect with the flashing lights and siren, there might be some evasive action.

Sadly, not always.

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