Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who has the right of way?

It used to be a common sight in our city to see Ambulances in a desperate attempt to save lives speeding on the right side of the road (the wrong side!) to jump the traffic. But as our city's infrastructure and roads have improved Medians have sprung up on every road preventing any such actions.

With the grade separator coming up at the Kathipara Junction, traffic jams have become the norm for the stretch of Mount Road till Halda Junction. The 1.5 km stretch taking up to 15 minutes to negotiate on most days! Ambulances no exception of course.

Some time back on a typical week day evening I was caught among the traffic near SPIC Building. There was an ambulance among the sea of vehicles, after about 5-7 minutes and three signals later the Power of the Siren and flashing lights could get it only as far as my motorbike could wiggle. We turned into the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road and the situation didn't change much. We missed another signal though I was a little ahead near the stop line, so I called out to the traffic police man standing there, who went behind and removed the barricades allowing the ambulance to change lanes and race ahead of the traffic. Whether the life was saved or not God only knows...

Mount Road Halda Junction & Barricaded Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road
It's a common sight nowadays to see Motorists squiggling uncomfortably in their seats as Ambulances wait with the traffic Siren blaring and lights flashing...

It's also a very common sight to see motorists waiting restlessly for long periods at traffic junctions as the traffic policemen hold up traffic to ensure a free passage for politicians.

So Who has the right of way?

I've also posted on Chennaiist. Thanks for the listing DesiPundit


Anonymous said...

As a Paramedic, I can categorically state that this is a problem here in the USA too. Everywhere they build these dividers onto surface streets, it hampers my response because traffic has nowhere to go and I have nowhere to pass them.

I'm not sure what the traffic engineers are thinking; maybe they're trying to prevent traffic clogging left turns?

IMHO, a center left turn lane would allow things to run much more smoothly than those darned center islands!

Prahalathan said...

I thought USA was much better :(


good job that you helped an ambulance. i appreciate.
but here ive seen many ambulances with sirens and lights moving very fast in roads.i was thinking that its some emergency!
later i was shocked to know that SOME ambulance drivers use sirens and lights even when transferring patients for investigations-like ct scan centres....!
this is very disappointing!
what"s your say? prahal!

Prahalathan said...

@ dr lokeshwar

yeah that should be stopped... but lives cant wait in traffic