Social media debate reveals how drivers should respond to emergency crews

Firefighters and drivers are frustrated by the miscommunications that slow down response times.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C.–- There is a heated debate happening on social media after local firefighters posted a photo that frustrated drivers.

The Huntersville Fire Department posted a Facebook photo apparently showing cars blocking the emergency lanes of I-77. Fire officials say those vehicles trying to get around traffic slowed them down on the way to multiple crashes.

However, it’s also raising questions about what you should do to get out of the way. 

NBC Charlotte talked to a woman who was confused over the post. She says people in Charlotte are from different parts of the country with different driving styles. 

The Facebook photo shows what not to do when an emergency vehicle is responding. It appears to show drivers blocking the emergency lanes on I-77. The Huntersville Fire Department posted it, after responding to multiple crashes on Sunday afternoon.

“I’ve always pulled to the right when an emergency responder has come up behind me,” says Melissa Ladd, who was confused about the post.

The fire department says in Sunday’s case, drivers were trying to get around traffic back ups by using the emergency lanes to exit. However, the post is also sparking questions about what you should do when an emergency vehicle is approaching in other cases.

“This is a such a melting pot of so many different people that are used to the laws where they come from,” says Ladd.

NBC Charlotte asked fire officials what people should do in those situations.

“It’s very tricky on the interstate,” says Bill Suthard, a spokesman for Huntersville Fire Department.

However, Suthard says it’s best to follow traffic.

“Watch the emergency vehicle, watch everyone else, don’t be the lone person that stays in the lane and everybody else moves, follow kind of like a swim with everybody else,” says Suthard.

“That would be easy to follow, if everyone followed the same way,” says Ladd.

In Sunday’s situation, the Huntersville Fire Department never made it to the scene.  They say Cornelius Fire Department had to come from the opposite direction, which is part of their mutual aid agreement.

Fire officials say a couple people were taken to the hospital with injuries. They are expected to survive.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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