Pull to the Right! This means you, @sshat!

pullrightlogo.jpgThe most frustrating part about writing for blogs is that often the people you’d wish would read informative posts aren’t the kind of people who even read blogs. That said, sometimes its imperative that you, dear readers, do a community service and print out important blog entries and tape them up for the offline world to see. Maybe your work breakroom or near the copy machine, possibly inside the stall of a public restroom beside the poetic graffitti. Anywhere the class of citizens we often refer to (lovingly) as “asshats” mingle or frequent.

Such is this case with this recent entry by Brian Humphrey at the LAFD News & Information blog:

Nationwide, nearly 16,000 collisions occur each year because a growing number of drivers fail to Pull To The Right when emergency vehicles approach using their lights and sirens.


In order to get out the message, the LAFD is sponsoring Operation Right Move, “to educate motorists about the importance of yielding to ambulances, fire trucks and police cars when they are responding to emergency incidents.”

Their website features “8 Simple Rules to Yield To An Emergency Vehicle” along with a Quicktime PSA starring Erik Estrada (perhaps explaining why this issue isn’t being taken so seriously… I kid! I kid!).

For a short period of time after 9/11 I noticed that LA drivers were pulling over whenever emergency vehicles approached. Five years later, though, the problem is pretty evident, and I don’t think its lack of information on the public’s part so much as sheer negligence (aka asshattedness). Hopefully Operation Right Move will give enough people pause to make a difference again.

So please, get the word out to the asshats.

5 Replies to “Pull to the Right! This means you, @sshat!”

  1. Since I’ve moved here, I’ve been surprised at the number of times I’ve simply been unable to move out of the way of emergency vehicles – totally blocked in. I’ve been in a number of situations where everyone clearly wanted to get out of the way and simply couldn’t until the light turned, etc. :(

  2. LizRiz:

    Please know that Firefighters and Paramedics never expect you to move in total gridlock unless (and until) you can do so with reasonable safety.

    Often times we will continue to sound the siren and air horns not to demonstrate frustration at you, but to warn cross-traffic and some other well-meaning motorist might dart suddenly into the intersection.

    With sirens blaring and your adrenal gland working overtime, each second probably seems like an hour.

    While it is incumbent upon the operators of emergency vehicles to look far forward and avoid gridlock where possible, there are streets, times and situations that challenge the best of motorists – in and outside of “Big Red”.

    Please know that despite our efforts to keep the music and distractions down and the window open a crack, there are times that a Police Car, Ambulance or Fire Engine will sneak up on us and our families in a private car.

    If you think that being perceived as impairing fire apparatus is an embarrasment, try doing so in a vehicle that has one of those little fire helmet stickers in the window :)

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  3. i always see people just stop in the middle of the street, in whatever lane they’re in, when there is more than enough room to pull to the right. i don’t understand it.

  4. While gridlock can make pulling over impossible, far more often I find that obliviousness or–sad to say–solipsism is responsible for people stopping where they are rather than pulling over.

    I know this is likely a function of mounting frustration with traffic, period; no one wants to get shunted to the side, stuck for an extra minute or two while @sshats behind them use their newfound pole position to zip ahead.

    What’s really scary is how many times I’ve come close to getting sideswiped or rearended by someone oblivious to the situation. My newest tactic is to sloooowly pull over across lanes, blocking a couple at a time in the hopes that the sheer weirdness of my driving might wake some people up to the situation.

    I have to say, I’m glad to hear Brian cop to getting surprised now and then, too. I try to be good about the internal noise/window open thing, but even still, I find myself getting snuck up on. My snug Corolla is much better at blocking noise than my rusty, old ones.

  5. Yeah, I’ve seen quite a big mess occur on Sunset during rush hour when a big fire engine needs to get through. Usually the FREAKISHLY LOUD ARMAGEDDON SIREN scares the living hoo-hah out of me and I make my own space to move to.

    Also, kudos on the use of the word ASSHAT. I think I will be saying it a lot more during the rest of the day. :)

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