Simple act of pulling to the right can save a life.
When an emergency strikes, time is absolutely of the essence. Quite frankly, minutes and even seconds can mean the difference between a person living or dying.
The city of Santa Clarita has many traffic problems that already hinder emergency responders from getting to their destination. Cars that do not pull over to the right when an emergency vehicle is coming cause even more problems.
The law is that when any emergency vehicle is coming down the road with their sirens on, cars in both directions must pull over to the right and stop.
Responders are noting that many cars do not do this, and are causing delays in their response time.
To combat this, the City of Santa Clarita has teamed up with the emergency agencies to promote the “Pull to the Right” campaign, aimed at teaching people how to react when they see sirens.
Many people panic and just simply stop where they are. This can be dangerous for the driver as well as the responder. Fire Fighters are trained to never pass on the right side of vehicles, and therefore, the further into the road you are, the less room the drivers have to go around you, since they can only go to the left.
“Every second counts when you’re on a call…and most of the time, when they just stop, you don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Engineer Steve Toledo, driver for Fire Station 73.
Many people think that if an emergency vehicle is on the opposite side of the street, and there’s a median, they don’t have to stop. This is also incorrect.
The drivers of these emergency vehicles are constantly scanning both sides of the road, meaning at any time they will cross into oncoming traffic if they feel they need to. They can cross at an intersection, or some of them can just go over the median. To be safe, all cars on both sides of the street must pull over.
Toledo went on to say that such a slowdown could cost them as much as thirty seconds, all due to one car not pulling to the right.
There are other problems that responders are noticing as well.
“I hate to say it…but sometimes people use us,” says Toledo. “They know we’re coming, so they keep driving ahead of us. The people that do follow the rules pull over, then they’ve got an open road.”
So the campaign asks that the public remember a couple of easy steps. When you hear the sound, look around. When you see the light, pull to the right.