By Brookfield Fire/EMS
Many drivers who approach an emergency scene on the roadway do not know how to react. This confusion can be deadly for first responders, vehicle crash victims and other motorists approaching the scene. Brookfield Fire/EMS offers these tips for what to do when approaching these scenes on the roadway:
If at all possible, avoid the area and take an alternate route. Do not make an illegal turn to avoid the incident; instead, plan a different route when you hear there is an issue with your route.
Slow down as you approach and pass the incident. Remain alert for unexpected occurrences, as this is a different situation than normal roadway driving.
Move over as you approach a stopped emergency vehicle, by one lane if it is safe to do so. This gives the responders room to work.
If no responders are yet on the scene and you have a hands-free cellphone, call 911 to report the incident. Note the location by mile marker, landmark, address and cross streets, if possible, to report the location accurately. If unable to use a hands-free device, safely remove yourself from the roadway to make the call.
If an emergency vehicle is approaching with their lights and sirens on, slow down and pull to the right, allowing the responding vehicle to safely pass.
Look for and obey all temporary traffic control signs and directions from first responders, including lane closures. Temporary traffic control creates a safe work area for first responders to treat victims and remove hazards or damaged vehicles.
Never attempt to drive around an emergency scene on the shoulder, drive through it or turn around to avoid it or the traffic queue. These promoactions put you, other motorists, and responders at risk of death and injury.
Do not take photos or videos of the incident as you pass it, and do not post on social media. This not only distracts you from your driving, but is also disrespectful to the victims and their families, who are going through this traumatic experience.
If you need to inform someone that you will be delayed due to the incident and traffic, please remove yourself from the roadway before making the call. Distracted driving kills 3,400 people every year and injures 390,000 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Remain alert even if sitting in traffic. Now is not the time to let your attention wander, or use your cellphone. Unexpected events can happen at emergency incidents, and you must remain alert so you can react.
Every year, an average of five firefighters, 12 law enforcement officers and more than 60 road crew employees and department of transportation workers are struck and killed while working roadway incidents. Please do your part in helping to end these tragedies, by remaining alert when operating your vehicles in and around these scenes.