ROCKINGHAM COUNTY -- First responders today are reminding drivers to look out for emergency vehicles on the road. This comes after an accident yesterday on Route 33 in Elkton, where a car crashed into an ambulance. State Police say the car ran a red light and hit the ambulance. No one was seriously hurt.
Tonight, we look at staying safe when you hear the sirens.
On YouTube, you can find example after example: Cars, not paying attention, plowing into ambulances and other emergency vehicles.
"You never know when an ambulance or a fire truck is going to come up behind you, coming through another intersection," said Jeff Michael, deputy chief of Rockingham County Fire and Rescue.
He said that, a lot of times, it comes down to people just not paying attention.
"Honestly, people are watching their cell phones, watching their GPS-es, they're playing with their radio..." Michael said. "A lot of times their eyes aren't on the highway the way they should be."
But even when drivers do see them...
"What we notice a lot of times is that people freak out when they see us coming," he said.
Michael said that sudden and unpredictable movements can cause just as many problems as not moving at all. He said the best thing drivers can do when they see an ambulance or other emergency vehicle is to be patient, not do anything drastic and move to the right as soon as possible. That means not trying to beat the light.
"In this day and age, everybody's wanting to go, go, go," Michael said. "There's an emergency somewhere that we're trying to get to, we don't want to cause another going to the scene."
Michael said drivers are trained to operate every vehicle they drive.
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