A WIGAN man who is the subject of a viral video slammed for being foolish and dangerous said the footage of him tracking an ambulance “looks worse than it is.”
Titled the quickest way to get to work, the 40-second clip of Danny Jones filming himself following an emergency crew has received thousands of views.
But the footage has been condemned by ambulance and driving authorities who have warned of the dangers of the “irresponsible” actions.
Danny, who has since taken down the video from his Facebook profile, told the Evening Post he understood the negative reaction but emphasised he was driving safely.
He said: “I was keeping my distance, there was a queue of cars behind me. It looks a lot worse than it was. It’s claiming (one thing), but that’s not what it actually is.
“It’s nowhere near as bad as what the video makes out. I was doing the speed limit and I was maintaining my distance behind the ambulance, it just looks like I’m following it. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m keeping my distance and I’m not going through any red lights.”
The footage, recorded by Danny on a mobile device, shows him driving along the A49 towards Warrington behind the ambulance, which has its emergency lights flashing.
He can be heard to say: “I appear to have found a quicker way to work. Everybody is beeping at me and I don’t care. Are you ready? This is the quickest way to work. Follow this.”
Referring to other vehicles on the road, he adds: “Pulling over, pulling over, not me lad, I’m there, I’m on it, I’m going past. Ta-ra all.”
A spokesman for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “This is a shocking example of irresponsible driving. Drivers who use a mobile phone while behind the wheel are taking unnecessary risks, increasing their chances of being involved in a serious crash, which often has devastating consequences for other, innocent road users.
“Emergency services personnel are specially trained to drive in emergency situations. Trying to keep up with them is foolish, dangerous and potentially illegal.”
The video, uploaded last year, attracted criticism having been shared on group pages used by emergency services staff. One paramedic branded the video as “totally reckless.”
A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We do not condone any acts of dangerous driving as they can have serious consequences for both the driver and other road users.
“Our crews are trained to drive in emergency situations and to drive through traffic quickly and safely. It is not safe for a non-emergency vehicle to be driven in the same way.”
Explaining to his almost 24,000 Facebook account followers, Danny posted on his profile: “Just to let you know my videos have upset some viewers. They have been taken down, there will be more but not when in control of a vehicle.
The former Hawkley Hall High School student told the Evening Post: “I can see why (people would take offence) and that’s why I’ve removed the video. I don’t want people to be angry and upset about it.
“I wasn’t expecting this, it was something that was between a few mates, or it was meant to be. I’ve posted other videos that have gone viral and obviously people have gone back on my profile and got to this video.”