India is known for its insensitive and callous motorists who deny passage to emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire-engine and police control room vans. Even when caught, usually they get away by bribing the Traffic Policeman or pay fine and continue with their right to break traffic rules. Delhi has now come up with a new rule which under section 7 of the Motor Vehicles Act will impose a fine of Rs.100 on vehicles that do not allow passage to emergency vehicles. In fact, we do not need fine, but a bit more of common sense and responsibility from our citizens. Hence, these elements are missing; a strict rule and heavier fine may work.
Most of the motorists complain that they were unable to give passage to an ambulance because they were stuck in traffic. Let us not harp on excuses, but find a solution to the problem. Here are 4 ways to give the right of passage to an ambulance even when you are stuck in traffic. Add more through comments if you have any more ideas.
We all have been spectators to the drama of the reaction of people on road to an approaching ambulance. Not many are bothered about giving way to the ambulance and moving to the left, instead they stare at it with bewilderment, as though the siren is giving clues of some amusement unfolding in front of them. If there is a traffic controller present, he joins the onlookers without doing anything much as well.
People have to understand that there is a life at stake in the ambulance. Awareness should be spread among the motorists that they should move to the left once they hear the siren, so that the right side will be made free for the ambulance to pass through. People who do not follow this rule should not be ignored by other pedestrians and motorists; instead, they should be made aware about the gravity of the situation and should be reported.
All the traffic should come to a halt on the left side until the ambulance passes. No vehicle should be allowed to move until the ambulance has passed safely. Do not try to rush to the left side, but move slowly and steadily making way for the ambulance. Do not panic. We do not want more people in the ambulance.
We should look out for people who would try to take advantage of the opportunity and overtake other vehicles, or try to get behind the ambulance for quick getaway from the traffic and report them to the traffic police. No exception should be made for VIP vehicles regarding the rule of letting emergency vehicles like ambulance pass by. Driving is a privilege but every person has right to live. Do not put your privileges ahead of other’s life. There is nothing much the traffic police can do without the help of fellow motorists and pedestrian. Be responsible citizen and not just follow the traffic rules, but report those who don’t.
No cyclist in India has ever been able to ride in bicycle on the lane reserved for him/her because it has been used to park vehicles as soon as it gets reserved. Parking on the side of roads should be prohibited. It narrows the lanes creating traffic jam which hinders the passage of ambulance even when other motorists try to co-operate. If whole of the left side of the road is occupied by parked vehicles, motorists will have tough time allowing safe passage to the ambulance.
If you are stuck because of a parked vehicle that made it difficult for the ambulance to pass, report it to the traffic police. Stern measures should be taken against the vehicles that narrow the lanes by parking on side of the road.
Ambulances are licensed to break signals and also allowed to drive through the wrong side. Motorists should be aware of this rule and hence break the signal to allow an ambulance to pass. Not many are aware that it is legal to break signal if there is an emergency vehicle behind, so that it pass easily.
In addition, do not wear headphones or play music loudly in your vehicle which may not allow you to hear the sound of the ambulance on time. Be alert when you are driving and save life. Someday it could be your life.