Emergency responders remind drivers to pull over this holiday season

12:29 AM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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  • Firefighters ask drivers to move over and clear the road
  • Firefighters ask drivers to move over and clear the road

Across East Tennessee, drivers are fighting Christmas crowds along the interstates and roads. The holiday season also means a yearly headache for emergency responders weaving through traffic with lives on the line.

Knoxville Fire Department Station 20 sits right off I-40 at the West Hills exit in Knoxville. It is the same exit shoppers use to access West Town Mall, creating busy roads during the holiday season.

"This time of year is a big headache for us," said Captain Dennis Beckley, of KFD.

"It depends on how bad it is, it can slow us down tremendously. [We] go from a two or three minute response time to a five to six minute response time."

Since every minute matters on the job, firefighters want to remind drivers they are responsible for helping clear the roads.

"They do need to pull to the right, or as far right as they can, to let us get by," Capt. Beckley said. "Just take a deep breath and look for a second."

"We want them to be safe first."

Rural/Metro shares a list of tips for drivers, when they see an emergency vehicle:

  • Respond quickly, but calmly.
  • Check in all direction for more than one emergency vehicle.
  • Use your turn signal, and try not to slam on your brakes or pull over suddenly. 
  • Pull over as far right as possible. Ensure there is enough space on the shoulder to pull over safely.
  • Stay completely stopped to the right of the road until the emergency vehicle has passed. 
  • Before returning to the flow of traffic, check for one more than one vehicle responding.

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