July 3, 2009

Pulling Over

I LOVE pulling over for emergency vehicles. I do it fast and early and as far over as I can get, and please stop snickering because none of that is funny. I think I like it because I WANT to be someone who is Good In Emergencies, but instead I'm someone who Freezes In Emergencies, and so I love these rare opportunities when my role is absolutely clear to me and I can execute it with ease. It gives me a taste of what it must be like to see a reflection in your martini glass of someone sneaking up behind you, and immediately spin around and knock him unconscious with one swift kick.

One of my Hot Buttons, driving-wise, is people who don't pull over fast enough or early enough or far enough. Worst of all: people who irritably PULL AROUND ME when I pull over, revving off as if, given a choice between two theories: (1) this lady has pulled over for no apparent reason so I should look around to see if I can figure out what the reason IS and (2) this lady has pulled over for no apparent reason so obviously she is a FREAKING MORON, they go right to option 2 because DUH. Someone even HONKED at me once, before revving around. I hate that SO much, it...it...the...flames...flames...flames on the side of my face.

I also get steamed if, after the emergency vehicle goes by, someone uses it as an opportunity to pass all the suckers who pulled over. ERG!! If it were possible to MENTALLY pull out a gun and shoot out someone's tires, I would probably cause additional emergencies because of doing so.

36 comments:

d e v a n said...

A lot of people are terrible about pulling out of the way! It's so annoying!! I have had people honk at me because I didn't go when the light turned green, but there was an ambulance coming through the intersection. That was the closest I ever came to flipping the bird.

Clarabella said...

Couldn't agree with you more. I also find an odd satisfaction in pulling over as soon as I can & safely for emergency vehicles. I also wish nails in the tires of all the a-holes who DON'T.
I once had the displeasure of watching an ambulance, that I had pulled over for, get into an accident because other cars didn't pull over (a car ACTUALLY turned left IN FRONT of the ambulance. Moron.) No one was further injured, but I stayed pulled over and provided witness to the accident. When they sent another ambulance to transfer the patient into, people still weren't pulling over for it. Gah!

Jill said...

Three cheers for the Clue reference! Love it.

Annika said...

I am right. There. With you.

Michelle said...

Orrrrrrr how about the woman who I saw one day NOT pull over but instead crawl along slowly past all the cars that HAD pulled over (two lanes in each direction, I was at a SL going the other way) while the ambulanceS were behind her trying to get past. And the lady couldn't figure out what to do. *sigh*

tracynicole22 said...

I'm a puller over too! My dad was a firefighter so I take it very seriously and get very frustrated at the people who look at me like I'm doing something wrong!

nevermelts said...

I'm with you cept for the last part. You don't know if the car behind the ambo is the owner of the person inside! Don't feel bad though, didn't know that either till I chased an ambulance carrying my 18 month old. Then when everyone who was pulled over did all they could to get between me and the ambulance I had a moment of clarity! hehe... I know you're probably not supposed to chase those things but... my baby!

Christina said...

I'm a puller over and intersection non-crosser when emergency vehicles are around. Just a few days ago I was at an intersection when an ambulance was coming and for whatever reason they didn't use their light-changer-to-red thing and all these cars were freaking out like a free for all, trying to make their turns and dart across while the light was green. I just parked my ass right there and let the ambulance cross in front of me while the guys behind me were stuck and had to allow the same. heh heh.

And! Thanks for the other perspective nevermelts, never thought of that before!

Swistle said...

Nevermelts- DEFINITELY. We'll grant all racing/chasing cars an exemption. I've only seen the ones who pulled over behind me who are then trying to get a few cars ahead of where they were (or possibly just trying to get ahead of my minivan).

mamaunfurling said...

One of the biggest differences I've noted between my small midwestern down that I was raised in and the Florida metropolitan area I live in now is that down here? Its like people don't believe in pulling over! It drives me batty! More often than not, I or my husband are the ONLY ONES who pull over when there's an emergency vehicle approaching us from behind. Everyone else just keeps going.

I have a cousin who is an EMT in Denver. I have no idea how she does it without getting out of the vehicle to smack some sense into people. Or wanting to mentally shoot out their tires, too. ;)

Anonymous said...

I live in Los Angeles and you'd think, "Big City. No one will pull over," but for the most part people here are really good.

However, I lived in Boston for a while and Oh. My. God. Any time there was an ambulance, it'd have to fight a path through the streets. Then it would be immediately followed by a scrum of cars fighting to tail the ambulance in order to beat the other cars out of the traffic. The first time I saw it, I couldn't figure out what was going on. There were people not moving out of the way? What? (If some of those people had their baby in the ambulance, I'm totally ok with that but that, sadly, was not the case.)

It solidified my decision to get back to the west coast asap. Sorry to offend any Bostonians but, gotta be honest.

samantha said...

Mrs. White from Clue FTW!!!

Bethtastic said...

Um. Clue is my favorite move. Ever. I wish I worked for UNO WHO. :D

And I'm in the pull over fast and far camp.

Hotch Potchery said...

That happened to me the other day...I pulled over, and when I was trying to get back in traffic the ass behind me CUT.ME.OFF. to get back on the road. Thank goodness he saved those 4 seconds.

donna said...

In traffic situations like this, I always wish that I had a magic ability to target the a-hole who is is such a damn hurry, and gently and safely plant their car upside down or backwards in the median. No injury or death wishes, just the ultimate in inconvenience. Because really? There is no quick and easy way to flip your car over.

But then I think, what if the guy's wife is in labor and he's rushing to the hospital? Or some other perfectly valid emergency? Then I feel bad.

But usually, I just wish I could put 'em upside down.

Miz S said...

I love me some Swistle.

fairydogmother said...

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in life. It drives me absolutely crazy. When other people won't pull over, or wait until the last possible second, etc., I can actually feel my blood pressure escalating (and I'm typically a low blood pressure type). I just simply do not understand the thought process there. Someone needs to smack them upside the head and point out that someday that ambulance that they refuse to get out of the way for is going to be on the way to someone they love, and then they will realize that every fraction of a second counts.

Chibi said...

As someone who has had loved ones need that speeding ambulance, it makes my blood BOIL to see asshats who won't pull over -- I even curse the people who don't pull over on the opposite side of the road (because they ARE supposed to). They make my head asplode.

Lauren said...

I always wish there was some way to put a collective hex on really awful drivers, like if enough of us give them the stinkeye their driver's license would go up in a puff of smoke. I'm going to ask Santa for that.

Also, the best thing I ever did to unfreeze myself in emergencies was to take a Red Cross first aid and emergency response class. Now if I have to deliver a baby in a taxicab at least I know the steps!

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Another thing that I hate is when traffic is at a stand still and someone drives in the break down lane to skip all the traffic. I believe I should get to shoot them too.

Erin said...

I find that one of Life's Most Stressful Situations is when you're stuck in a line at a red light with a fire truck or ambulance flashing & siren-ing behind you with NOWHERE TO GO. I could make my head explode.

Love the throw back to Clue. Hee!

MzEll said...

Amen! Agreed! And if we could please add people who don't merge properly in a flippy-flappin construction zone that would be great...

daysgoby said...

My husband is a paramedic and it's fricking UNBELIEVABLE how many times he's almost been in accidents. You'd think people drove with I-pods on.

Ellen said...

My husband is a police officer and trust me, this is his pet peeve too. He says, "Do they REALIZE I may be on my way to stopping an assault or suicide?" People are so very 1) unaware of their surroundings and/or 2) selfish.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I always pull over and have had friends say to me, "you've got time you don't have to pull over yet." Makes me crazy...if it's a friend, loved one or me in the ambulance or whose house is on fire I want the emergency vehicle to have a clear road ahead.

Jess said...

It drives me NUTS when people don't pull over. But at the same time, I don't love pulling over myself. It always makes me nervous when I hear sirens in the distance. I guess I worry that there won't be somewhere to pull over, or that I won't pull over soon enough and will get in their way.

ParkerMama said...

Well, first I like to look around me and figure out from which direction the emergency vehicle is coming.

It's a bit embarrassing to pull over for said vehicle only to discover it's coming from the opposite direction.

Just sayin'.

Tammy and Parker
www.prayingforparker.com
www.5minutesforspecialneeds.com
@ParkerMama On Twitter

Sara said...

Thank you so, so much for quoting the movie Clue. Made my night.

nonsoccermom said...

DIED laughing at the quote from Clue. DIED. I use that very same quote myself from time to time (complete with hand motions) and only ONCE has someone known what I was referring to. Everyone else thinks that I'm crazy.

I hear you on pulling over for the emergency vehicles, by the way. People around here are TOTAL jerks about it. So much so that the local PD has started writing tickets for failure to comply.

Anonymous said...

Ooohh...a young woman in the UK was jailed recently for, get this, pulling in front of an ambulance (with its siren on), braking, and making obscene gestures and laughing etc. Oh yes! Poor patient died en route. I think she may have needed the swift kick. Well.

DomestiKook said...

I'm with you all the way. I keep my imaginary .40 in my waistband at all times. Extra bullets in the glove box.

Gina said...

I am the same way - I hate the people who don't pull over and I get get all riled up when the douchebags use the opportunity to pass everyone and won't let you back into traffic.

Morrigan said...

My husband is also a paramedic and while on the road his safety is largely dependant upon the actions of drivers and your willingness to pull over. Approximately five years ago he was on his way to a call with lights and sirens blaring when a logging truck didn’t see the ambulance in the intersection and proceeded through on a green light (in Ontario we don’t have those nifty little devices that change the traffic lights). The ambulance was hit, spun 270 degrees and landed on its side. Luckily, neither my husband nor his partner was hurt, but had another crew not been in the area the patient they were rushing to get to would have died of a heart attack.

About six months ago another paramedic in the Toronto area was killed when the ambulance he was treating a patient in was hit from behind.

Pulling over for emergency vehicles may take 60 seconds out of your day, but it literally means life or death for the Emergency Service workers and the people depending upon them.

parkingathome said...

And monkey's brains, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington D.C.

Ambulances are just a red herring.

Sara said...

First of all, that is one of my FAVORITE lines from the movie!


And I am the same way about pulling over. I freak out a little if there is a lot of traffic and I hear a siren, because I don't want to be the person who is in the way. In the city where I live, there are only one or two ways to get to the hospital. Both ways had to cross the train tracks, though they built an overpass about 30 years ago. My husband has heard stories that before the overpass, it was not uncommon to see an ambulance stopped there because of the train and have to turn off the lights and sirens because the person had died. How horrible.

J from Ireland said...

This post is hilarious, so funny.

Over here everyone pulls over for emergency services, I have never seen anyone not clearing the way. Also over here, in my town, every car stops while a funeral passes by, no matter how much of a hurry your in, as a mark of respect.
Can cause huge delays but always understood by everyone!!