The Rule Of Right-Of-Way

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - A day in the life of an ambulance driver can be dangerous, especially when dealing with traffic.

That's one reason why they are constantly training for worst-case scenarios.

Today, hundreds of first responders went to and from Offutt air force base for annual disaster training.

Fox 42 caught up with a couple of local ambulance drivers to talk about the rules of the road and how they stay safe.

"People don't respond, people don't hear ittheir radios are up, they're texting, they're on their telephones, they're not paying attention to what's going on on the road and a lot of times, until you get right up to them, they don't know that you're there," paramedic Ray Burbine says.

He says driving an ambulance is a dangerous job, one that requires a lot of attention. From not only the paramedic but also others sharing the road. "The best tip we can give is to stay calm and slowly move to the right and come to a stop, just don't make any sudden moves, don't panic because we're going to yield to you," paramedic Steve Gawrick says.

He says drivers often stop suddenly or go the wrong way. "If you see other cars suddenly stopping or pulling over, don't just go shooting past them. Look around, look in your mirrors, see where we're coming from, if you hear the noise slow down and get ready, slowly pull over to the side but don't just jump and hastily make a decision that's going to cause another accident," Burbine says.

"With people slamming on their breaks or not yielding or moving to the right it just causes them a longer response time which in turn could possibly make it more of an emergency." They say the faster you get out of their way, the quicker they can get to your family.

"If it was my family that they were responding to, I would want them to be there as quick as possible," Gawrick says.

According to Nebraska state law, drivers are required to pull over and stop when they see an ambulance with their lights on. Gawrick asks that drivers keep a foot on the brake to let the paramedics know you see them. "When people see you coming from 50 yards back and they start to slow down and move to the right and everyone starts doing it, it makes our job a lot easier," he says.

Helping them, so they can save others.

According to the DMV, if you're on a roadway divided by a median, traffic going the opposite direction is not required to stop. You also do not have to stop if you are in an intersection or within a roundabout.