After two Coffee County paramedics and their patient were killed when a car going the opposite direction hit the brakes and the truck behind it slid into the front of the ambulance, EMS officials are asking residents to follow specific protocol when they see those flashing lights on the road in order to prevent more accidents.
Dougherty County EMS Director Greg Rowe says many people have the tendency to panic when they see lights in their rearview causing them to slam on their brakes, but that TMs actually the worst response to have because it TMs the least expected and can cause a chain reaction.
Shift supervisor Hal Pinson says EMS drivers are trained to pass on the left, so when a driver sees an ambulance with their lights and sirens on they should slow down gradually and move to the right. Pinson says a lot of drivers have the tendency to move left, but that can also cause an accident when the person realizes the ambulance is passing on the left and they try to move back in front of the truck.
If you TMre stopped for any reason, whether you TMre waiting to turn or are at an intersection, both Rowe and Pinson say they best option is to stay where you are, even if you TMre in the middle of the roadway. If an ambulance is coming up on a stopped car, officials say the driver is just going to move around it and continue.
If you happen to make a mistake and move left or start to panic, officials say just continue with the action you TMre doing and don TMt try to correct it because that can often just make it worse.
For drivers on the opposite side of the road, officials say it TMs a common courtesy to slow down and allow them the ambulance to go by in case they have to move across the line while passing a car in their lane.
Rowe and Pinson say although you can never predict how everyone is going to react, the more people who respond by slowing down and moving right means the lesser the chance of an accident for the trained drivers.