Ambulance medic asks drivers to be more respectful

A medic has taken to social media to express her frustration with drivers who cut her off on the job. Her post is boosting awareness about how you should properly treat an ambulance including what to do even if the lights and sirens are off.

It's a place you never want to be--the back of an ambulance. The atmosphere makes you anxious even without injury... the medical equipment, the stretcher. As a patient that feeling is only heightened.

"You've got medics that are maybe poking and prodding on you, starting an IV, checking your blood sugar,” added Austin-Travis County EMS Commander Mike Benavides.

Now add in sudden braking and swerving for inattentive drivers. Austin-Travis County EMS Commander Mike Benavides us a glimpse into what it's like for medics both behind the wheel and tending to a patient in the back.

He took us through a slight braking procedure while the ambulance was in motion. We were then taken through a sharper brake. It could easily knock you off your feet.

"Our medics are professionals. They've got certain things in here like this and the rails to try and give them a hand hold. So, that if they are standing they have a way to brace themselves. You can see a lot of things are padded and they're padded for a reason,” said Benavides.

On Friday a medic, who was obviously fed up with having to hit the brakes, posted about her experience on Reddit:

People of Austin. I've been cut off three times today. Ambulances need room to stop. Not just because we're big and heavy but because we have PEOPLE in the back that are sick or hurt or both.
Please be respectful in traffic and do not cut us off. Just because we don't have lights or sirens on doesn't mean someone isn't in the back.
Imagine if your loved one was back there and I had to swerve or hit the brakes.
"It's been very interesting this last 72 hours,” said Benavides.

Benavides understands the medic's plight and he's happy the conversation has re-emerged.

"Driving alone is the most hazardous thing we do on a daily basis,” said Benavides.

For the most part drivers know to move over if the lights and sirens are activated, but Benavides says we should always make room for ambulances.

"Just because it's not driving with lights and sirens on doesn't mean that there's not a patient in the back. In fact, there probably is an 80 percent chance there's a patient in the back,” said Benavides.

Benavides says those patients are hurting and sometimes killing the lights is just to make the ride safer--for all of us.

"Provide public safety vehicles some space to maneuver and do what they need to do,” said Benavides.

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