Pat and Angie Sanford where heading home from a concert last September 5, 2013, when an ambulance responding to an emergency t-boned their car at more than 40 miles an hour. Pat Sanford suffered minor injuries, but Angie Sanford’s injuries were life-threatening. She suffered a shattered pelvis, broken ribs, a broken leg, internal injuries, and a traumatic brain injury. She lived but is still in the process of a difficult recovery.
Ambulance accidents are not common, but the high speeds and frantic pace involved in transporting the ill and injured contributes to the damage that occurs when an accident does happen.
Who drives an ambulance?
Emergency medical technicians and drivers are first responders who are called to accident and injury scenes. Ambulance drivers must be highly skilled, licensed and experienced in order to manage the speed and weight of the ambulance and to maneuver it in traffic on the road. The law states that cars are obligated to pull over and stop as soon as drivers become aware of the approach of an emergency vehicle, but they do not always do so.
How can I avoid an ambulance accident?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has guidelines for maintaining safe conditions when emergency vehicles are in the area. All drivers should follow these rules so they allow emergency first responders to do their job:
- Stay alert — Keep noise levels in your car low enough that you can always hear an emergency vehicle’s siren approaching.
- Investigate — Check the area around your car when you hear a siren to determine the direction of its approach.
- Respond — Pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and remain stopped until all emergency vehicles have passed.
- Enter — Move back into traffic slowly.
- Never — Do not pass or attempt to outrun an emergency vehicle.
Following these safety rules enables emergency personnel to reach those in need of assistance quickly and safely. If you are involved in an accident with an emergency vehicle or you witness an accident, call for help as soon as possible.
If you are injured in an accident, you might be eligible for monetary compensation for your injuries.