Emergency driving is one of my favorite activities. It's really a very strange state of mind to be in with the constant scan of what is happening around me, the study of who has the green light in the upcoming intersection and praying that a rogue pedestrian does not make the wrong split second decision. I also think about how often and how long can I blow the air horn, and how often and how long I can drive on the wrong side of the road. Very important stuff. Also in my mind I have been developing a reward system for drivers I encounter on the road. Oh so many people do the wrong thing when they encounter an emergency vehicle on the road. They panic, they don’t notice, they ignore. I think that the people who do the right thing ought to be rewarded. I am usually satisfied when people pull over and am overwhelmed with joy when, in a magnanimous gesture, they actually stop. It is pure bliss. If you pull over and stop you receive five gold stars, a parade thrown in your honor, and a presidential commendation. If you pull off the road completely you get three gold stars and a key to the city. A pedestrian who takes the hands of their small children and an obvious step away from the curb is awarded two gold stars and has a local street named after them.
On the flip side, if you pull over slightly and continue to drive at the same speed you are awarded no stars, and no ice cream for a year. If you firmly believe that all the cars in front of you are pulling over to let you pass, then you are an egomaniac and are awarded no gold stars and two days in the public stocks. If you don’t bother to pull over or slow down you are awarded no stars and the loss of your side view mirror. Also if you wait to pull over at the crest of the hill or the edge of a blind turn I will award you no gold stars and a flat tire. Also if you pull out in front of the ambulance, stop completely, and then look at it like a deer in the headlights you receive no gold stars and a cattle prod.
Also, you don’t need to put your flashers on and there is no need to jerk your wheel so hard that your top-heavy SUV threatens to overturn, but I'll give you one gold star for effort.
We have all been taken by surprise by emergency vehicles, even I have. But that doesn’t mean that rational thought should be suspended.