I have lived in several states, visited many states and traveled through many states but I am in awe when it comes to the driver’s in the State of Maryland. Never have I ever seen such disrespect for the traffic laws than I have in this state.
I understand the importance of having to be at a specific place at a specific time; we wouldn’t be driving our cars in the first place if we didn’t. I also understand that generally, time is of the essence; as to the final destination, more than likely we should have been there “yesterday”.
In today’s world where the demand for things that usually involve time, we forget to add any extra time for the occasional things like rush hour, having to get gas because you forgot to look at the gas gauge on the way home the last time you drove and of course traffic accidents. So, this leaves everyone in hurry and with a huge disregard for traffic laws.
I would put forth that pulling over and stopping for an emergency vehicle has to be the one of many important traffic laws I have never seen enforced. I have seen police cars sitting at intersections as emergency vehicles have tried to get through them with difficulty and have them do nothing. I have seen police cars watch emergency vehicles on a call and have passenger cars (non-emergency vehicles) continue to drive at “posted speeds”, following too closely, not pull over and or attempt to pass the emergency vehicle.
BELOW IS A THE SECTION FROM THE MARYLAND DRIVER’S HANDBOOK ON GIVING “RIGHT-OF-WAY”. This is a mandatory read to get your driver’s license. The only altercations to the segment below are that I added the numbers and made it fit to the page for easier reading.
Laws govern the right-of-way, but never put these laws ahead of safety. The right-of-way means the right of one vehicle or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner on a highway in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian. If you have the right-of-way and others yield it to you, proceed immediately.
1. You must, of course, obey stop signs; yield signs and traffic signals at intersections.
2. If you enter the intersection after another vehicle, you must yield the right-of- way.
3. If you are about to turn left at an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway, you must yield the right-of-way to other pedestrians and vehicles until it is safe to turn.
4. If you are entering a public street or highway from a private road or driveway, you must stop and yield to all approaching vehicles and pedestrians.
5. If a traffic light turns green for you, you must still yield to pedestrians and vehicles in the intersection. Be on the lookout for red light runners.
Authorized emergency vehicles, such as police cars, ambulances and fire engines, have the right-of-way when they are giving a signal, either audible (siren) or visual (flashing light). When you hear or see a vehicle approach, you should immediately drive to the curb and stop, remaining stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. Do not follow any fire apparatus closer than 500 feet when it is responding to an emergency.
“Maryland’s Driver Handbook”
I have touched on some personal observations and some legal ones (according to Maryland’s Driver Handbook) now to put a touch on the ethical and maybe some morality issues that one might bring up.
The section I am providing below is from a book called, “The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living” By: Joseph Telushkin. Although it is from a book based on Jewish values, I would hope that one would consider the actual thought behind what was written.
“The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living”
By: Joseph Telushkin
Week 1, Day 1
The first time I read this, I thought to myself, this is so very true. When YOU hear the siren is your first reaction to either hurry up, move and get out of the way or is it a bother and you continue about your business as usual?And as we choose one or the other and most of the time it is most likely the latter of the two choices. But when it involves YOU personally it is completely different.
We all expect for an emergency vehicle to get there in an expeditious manor if we are the ones placing the call. We stand around and anxiously look at our watches or phones and ask ourselves why it is taking so long for them to get there. But when we are not the ones placing that call, for most of us we will find that allowing the emergency vehicles to do their jobs is just “getting in the way” of what our current priorities are at the time.
This is what everyone needs to remember, when they hear or see an emergency vehicle: slow down, look around, turn down or better yet turn off the radio, get off the phone and pay attention because the very person’s life that they are saving could be someone you love or care about very much.