The little things mean a lot
Like many drivers, I do like doing the proper thing, especially while driving near other vehicles. I also teach my students at Young Drivers of Canada to do the same things. It’s always a good idea to know why we’re doing certain things and not just because “I was told to”. I also believe in practicing what I preach. I had a chance to follow that mentality recently when an emergency vehicle was approaching my direction from behind with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Would you know what to do?
I had just pulled out of a gas station on the corner and as I was reaching the intersection the traffic light changed from green to amber so I stopped as I had plenty of time to do so. After I stopped I began hearing the sirens of an ambulance. I started looking around to find where they were coming from and realized they were from well behind me. As that happened, another driver pulled up to my left and stopped beside me in the left lane while I was sitting in the curb lane. Seconds later another vehicle went into the left turning lane and stopped beside the driver next to me. Now all three lanes were blocked for this ambulance to pass.
Since there was no one behind me and traffic was flowing heavily from my left to right through the intersection, I decided to quickly put the vehicle into reverse and back up approximately 6 car lengths so the ambulance would have room to drive between my vehicle and the vehicle stopped in the left lane. I took the opportunity since the ambulance was still a block and a half to two blocks away and no one was stopped behind me yet. It’s a tough enough job driving an emergency vehicle without having drivers on the road making their travels that much tougher. A friend of mine is a paramedic and we were just talking about these types of situations days before.
I had enough time to reverse, stop and put on my hazard lights before the ambulance reached me. As they got to me, the paramedic in the passenger seat used their speaker to say “Thank you, thank you, thank you”. That made my day. I think we know from time to time that we can make a difference, however large or small it can be. This was one of those times that someone showed their appreciation. Do I need that appreciation each time? No, but knowing it was appreciated will fuel me to continue to do the proper thing while driving.
Each time you’re driving, remember the little things you do can help those around you. Act quickly and confidently since hesitating will often mean you’ve lost that chance to help make a difference. It doesn’t have to be for an emergency vehicle. It could be for a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist or any another road user. Take those few seconds to help make our society in which we live in a co-operative driving culture. Who knows; it could become infectious with those around you.