Reports and videos of drivers not giving way to ambulances have sparked unhappiness from Singaporeans online in recent months. But these kinds of drivers are not the worst kind, says a group of ambulance drivers.
Ambulance driver Muhammad Nurhan Abdullah, who has four years of experience, says: “There are three types of drivers. The first type moves immediately when they see us, the second type takes a while to react, and the third type do not want to move at all. They know that we are in an emergency, but somehow their minds do not process it. Then they get frustrated and angry that we are blaring our sirens at them.”
According to Mr Nurhan, a colleague was carrying a patient in critical condition on one trip and had his siren and lights on. However, the driver of a grey sedan aggressively overtook the ambulance, causing the ambulance to come into light contact with it.
The driver then alighted from his car and made a rude gesture towards the ambulance driver. When he realised that there was little damage done to his car, he drove off. This blocked traffic for the expressway and the ambulance for a few minutes, precious time that could have been spent getting the patient quickly to the hospital.
It is not the first time that a driver has forced an ambulance to pull over. There have been cases where drivers even demanded that medics prove that that there was a patient inside and that there really was an emergency.
Mr Nurhan adds: “Some drivers even tailgate you. Some follow you all the way to the hospital just so they can be convinced that we didn’t turn on our emergency siren for nothing.”