Giving Way to Emergency Services


You see some interesting things walking around the city streets. Discarded shopping trolleys. Motorists running red lights. Pedestrians pummelling the button to make the pedestrian light change sooner. (It doesn’t work!) But occasionally you see something that really makes your blood boil.

I was waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green (and NOT pummelling the button!) when I heard the unmistakeable sound of an ambulance siren. As soon as I heard it, I started looking around – where is it? And then, there it is, coming down Herries Street, siren roaring, lights flashing.

To my utter disbelief, I watch as cars continue through the traffic lights while the ambulance sits, waiting to cross the intersection and be on its way.


It wasn’t just one vehicle or two, but quite a few that crossed the intersection in full view of an ambulance with blaring siren and flashing lights. Fortunately, some drivers actually had the sense and consideration to stop, be patient and let it through. I could not believe it.

Sadly, it is not the first time I have seen this happen and I expect it won’t be the last, but it is certainly quite appalling.

I don’t know where that ambulance was going but I am pretty certain it was going to somebody’s loved one, somewhere.

One day, an ambulance might be coming to your loved one.

It might even be coming to you.

It’s pretty simple really. It’s called the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If that ambulance had been coming for my loved one – I would want people to give way.

If it was coming for me – I would want people to give way.

Fortunately I have seen plenty of occasions when people have stopped and given way. I have even seen motorists mount a traffic island in an attempt to make way for an ambulance. It cheers the heart to know that there are people who stop to think about others.

When you hear the siren, when you see the flashing lights…It doesn’t matter if the traffic light is green. It doesn’t matter if it is your turn to go.

You stop.

You give way.

And if you need to and can, move out of the way.

The same goes for other emergency vehicles, like the Fire and Emergency service.

This is what it means to show respect for each other.

This is what it means to live in community.

2 thoughts on “Giving Way to Emergency Services

  1. I have seen this as a happen too and I wonder when did we as a society become so self involved that this is behaviour you can justify, or do people just not know what to do when they see an emergency service vehicle. Great post Karen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sharon. I have always known, from a young age, that you give way for an ambulance and it was part of the training when I learned to drive. And the same for my daughter who came off her Ps earlier this year. I think it just comes back to selfishness and impatience. What is a couple of minutes in comparison to a person’s life?


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