What to do When You Hear the Siren and See the Lights Behind You
Before this post appears to respond negatively on law enforcement regulations regarding appropriate procedures when an emergency vehicle has its siren screaming, and strobe lights illuminated, let me address the appreciation I personally have to those who turn a “drive in the park” to the “Indy 500“, all in an effort to save a life, or prevent a crime from escalating.
That being said, the rules of engagement for all motorists when encountering these vehicles, should be universal. Let me tell you what I encountered early yesterday evening in Lufkin.
If you were in the city around 7:00 p.m. in the vicinity of Timberland and Chestnut, you would have noticed a cavalcade of police SUV’s racing to a call, and as luck would have it, I just happened to be at the green light intersection that was the centerpiece of activity.
Being a good citizen of common sense, after hearing the sirens wail, and finding the source of this noise in my rear view mirror, I pulled my car to the right side of the street inches from the intersection, then stopped. I saw the police cruiser heading towards me at a high rate of speed. Only moments before another police vehicle turned left in front of me, so I knew the officer closing in on me, was going to make a right turn.
Although a clear path existed in the other traffic lane, and as the emergency vehicle blazed towards my trunk, it did not appear from my vantage point (rear view mirror observation) that a lane change maneuver was in the cards. The police vehicle was breathing my exhaust when I broke the law and gunned it across the intersection, allowing the cruiser to make a quick right.
In hindsight, I will never do that again, because I could have injured myself or someone else over a momentary ESP revelation. The code is clear concerning these circumstances, but if I didn’t move when I did, I would have likely gotten the “bonk-bonk” blast insisting movement of my vehicle.
In conclusion, the best I can do to rectify this matter in my own head, is to draw a simplistic comparison. You see, I umpired little league baseball for nearly twenty years, and before the game began, I would instruct the catcher, that in the event of a foul ball, I would remain stationery. He instantly knew that to avoid a collision with the umpire, and have a chance to catch the pop-up — he would need to go around me — not through me.