Paramedics’ driving plea

Ambulances at Wigan Infirmary
Ambulances at Wigan Infirmary

WIGANERS have been urged to act “sensibly” when driving and an emergency service vehicle is trying to get through traffic.

The College of Paramedics has warned that an increase of motorists acting irresponsibly near ambulances and police cars carries a serious threat of major accidents.

Chief executive Martin Berry said more drivers are choosing to ignore the standard procedure of turning off to the left and coming to a complete stop.

The warning comes a matter of weeks after one Wigan motorist received national condemnation for posting a video of himself – titled the quickest way to work – appearing to follow an ambulance on the A49 in Warrington.

Mr Berry told the Evening Post: “In an emergency situation, a person who is not breathing will start to suffer permanent brain damage after about four minutes. So delaying an ambulance can have serious detrimental effects.

“Pulling over to the left and coming to a stop allows us to work around you.”

Last month, Hawkley Hall resident Danny Jones was fined £100 and handed three penalty points on his licence for using a mobile while driving.

His video, posted on his Facebook page, received thousands of views but was slated as “reckless” and “irresponsible” by road safety charities.

Jones told the Evening Post that the footage “looks worse than it is” and that he was keeping a safe distance from the emergency vehicle.

Mr Berry, a serving paramedic, added: “Following an ambulance is a very dangerous thing to do, the driver will be aware that someone is following them and they’re driving a four tonne vehicle having to navigate through traffic.

“If they had to come to an emergency stop and there is someone behind them, this could cause injury to not just that vehicle but other road users.”

“There has been a noticeable increase in behaviour such as using mobile phones and listening to loud music while driving which can mean a siren is not noticed.

“Also, in large towns and city centres, people become accustomed to hearing sirens and don’t react.

“We want to make the general public aware that it is important that they help emergency crews.”