Have you ever observed that in the midst of traffic, whenever siren sound of an ambulance or fire brigade is heard, the first reaction from the public as well as the traffic police will be to look towards the approaching ambulance in amusement to find how far is it from them and how the vehicle is approaching. In this melee, the traffic becomes chaotic making it more difficult for the ambulance or the fire brigade to move forward. It takes some time for the moving traffic to come to a halt and give way to the ambulance. Even in such a situation, there would be some two-wheeler or vehicle driver wanting to go ahead of every one without bothering! The worst part is when the constable managing the traffic themselves becomes the onlooker to the scene. They will be just watching as to how the ambulance driver is able to negotiate and move ahead of the surging traffic jam!
Often the ambulances get stuck at the traffic signals where all other vehicles try to squeeze in to all the available space so as to move ahead as soon as the signal turns green. Unlike western countries, Indian cities can not think of having separate lanes for emergency purpose because the roads are not broad enough. Its time for the traffic experts, police and the transport authorities to evolve a clear cut guideline as to what is the correct procedure to be followed by the traffic constable, public and the drivers of ambulance/fire brigade as the case may be. In absence of any specific guidelines the drivers of ambulance tend to steer the vehicle from whichever side they find it convenient. Other vehicles while giving way move here and there creating more chaos than facilitate.
The need of the hour is to understand the gravity of such an emergent situation by every body. People should immediately act on hearing the siren instead of looking here and there in bewilderment. All vehicles must immediately be brought to the left side leaving the right side absolutely free for the un-obstructive passage of ambulance. The role of traffic constable should be well defined to bring all the vehicular traffic to a halt on to the left side on hearing any siren sound from approaching vehicle. They should ensure that no body (including VIP vehicle) is allowed to go ahead overtaking others until the ambulance passes.
‘Golden hour’ is the key to one’s life and instead of becoming a mere onlooker, let us be pro-active at the first sound of siren on road from an ambulance, fire brigade or even a police van/jeep (provided the last one is not carrying family of police personal to a school, mall or a film show!).
This is a guest article by S.R. Ayyangar, 60 years young retired banker from Bangalore, passionate about satire writing on social/political issues, blogging and social worker, doing counseling for Suicide Prevention through the helpline “SAHAI” and editing email magazine MASTER on awareness for Sri Mission.