Most people might think that ambulances are exempt from vehicle accidents. After all, traffic clears for them when they head out on a call, making the road wide open and safer to navigate. However, this is actually a myth, one of many among emergency services. Ambulance accidents are more common than people think. There are an estimated 6,500 accidents involving ambulances each year, with 35% of those crashes resulting in injury or fatality to at least one occupant of a vehicle involved. Assuming that ambulances are protected from the risks of the road or that all EMS drivers practice safe driving only add fuel to the fire around myths of ambulances and ambulance accidents.
Here are some more examples of myths and misunderstandings around ambulance accidents in the EMS sector.
Accidents Only Happen in Bad Weather
It might make sense that slicker roads and poor visibility lead to more accidents. However, data shows that the majority of ambulance accidents occur on clear days with good visibility. This may be attributable to the extra effort drivers make to adjust their driving habits, including limiting their speed while the roads are slick.
Most Ambulance Accidents Occur on Dark Roads
The fact is that the majority of ambulance accidents occur in broad daylight. Yes, a little more than half of all road fatalities happen between 9pm and midnight; however, 92 percent of vehicle accidents among ambulances occur in either daylight or a lighted road.
The more widely traveled roads in the U.S. are lighted, and the majority of EMS calls in a typical community occur during daytime hours. However, the number of accidents remains low in conditions of poor or darkened visibility.
Most Ambulance Accidents Happen When Trying to Pass
Ambulances have to rush through traffic and pass other vehicles to get to a scene or leave a scene efficiently. But the fact is the majority of ambulance accidents happen when making turns or when broadsides at an intersection.
Although the ambulance driver of a vehicle with its windows closed cannot typically hear the ambulance approaching until it’s directly behind the vehicle, the largest percentage of accidents happen in an intersection, not when passing a vehicle. What’s more, the percentage of head-on collisions is actually small, which contradicts the myth that passing on the left or entering into an intersection is the worst hazard in ambulance driving.
Ambulance Accidents Occur While Backing In
Even fender-benders count as an accident. But in reality, the majority of ambulance accidents occur on the roadway, not when backing into a parking spot. Intersections clearly present a hazard to EMS services. The large number of accidents that occur at intersections suggests that other drivers don’t hear or see an ambulance until it is too late to stop.
Regardless of the myth or misunderstanding around ambulance accidents, obtaining and keeping commercial auto insurance specifically made for ambulances is key to limiting risk and legal problems. Having this coverage, as provided by Provident Fire Plus, protects ambulance services in the event of an accident and resulting litigation due to any injuries that occur. This coverage applies to the EMS organization’s vehicles and those operating them. With the information provided about myths and a better understanding of how commercial auto insurance works for emergency services, ambulance professionals are more equipped to handle the road more safely.
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