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  1.    #1  
    I was in traffic with my father today, when an ambulance passed us. Its lights were flashing, but the sirens werent on, and it was moving at traffic speed. It obviously was in no rush to get anywhere.

    I said that that means that whoever they had in the back died, and the flashing lights is the equivalent to rasing a flag at half-mast.

    He disagreed, and said it was nobody's buisness whether or not the person was alive, but then I asked why they would have the lights on, and he jokingly replied by saying they were getting donuts.

    I am not 100% sure, either, but I was / am pretty sure.

    Do any of you know?
  2. #2  
    I actually did quite a bit of research on this issue. Emergency vehicle lights/siren usage is regulated by each state's own laws, which are mostly the same.

    When the lights are on, other cars need to yield to the ambulance. With lights and siren, drivers still need to yield. However, sirens actually create more danger for the surrounding vehicles, so the rules usually provide that a siren is not to be used in traffic unless absolutely necessary. If an ambulance is in a hurry, they use lights. If it is an extreme emergency (or if traffic isn't getting out of the way), lights and sirens are both used.

    So, using lights and not a siren has nothing to do with whether a person is alive. (If they are dead, I would assume neither lights or sirens would be used, as there is no emergency.)

    By the way, if an ambulance goes through a red light in an intersection, traffic rules require that the ambulance can only proceed if it can do so safely. It can't just blast through the intersection without checking first simply because it is running with lights and siren.
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  3. #3  
    It doesn't necessarily mean the person is dead. As a high-schooler my brother got into a fight in a fast-food parking lot and had a minor injury. The manager insisted on calling 911 and the paramedics who took him to the hospital drove the speed limit w\o their sirens on.
  4.    #4  
    thanks guys. i was only in an ambulence once. and yes...the sirens were on. Like 6 years ago, I was trapped in a car with my mom in a flood. The water was almost up to the windows, and when the ambulance came, and got us out, it drove all 10 feet to safety. What a ride.
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by heberman
    I actually did quite a bit of research on this issue. Emergency vehicle lights/siren usage is regulated by each state's own laws, which are mostly the same.

    When the lights are on, other cars need to yield to the ambulance. With lights and siren, drivers still need to yield. However, sirens actually create more danger for the surrounding vehicles, so the rules usually provide that a siren is not to be used in traffic unless absolutely necessary. If an ambulance is in a hurry, they use lights. If it is an extreme emergency (or if traffic isn't getting out of the way), lights and sirens are both used.

    So, using lights and not a siren has nothing to do with whether a person is alive. (If they are dead, I would assume neither lights or sirens would be used, as there is no emergency.)

    By the way, if an ambulance goes through a red light in an intersection, traffic rules require that the ambulance can only proceed if it can do so safely. It can't just blast through the intersection without checking first simply because it is running with lights and siren.
    totally right..
    The father of a friend of mine is an ambo driver and they turn the sirens off whenever they can.. it is pretty loud (even for the drivers)
    I live close to an ambo station (end of my street) and they normally only turn the sirens on near crossings of if people dont get out of the way...

    Never heard of the half mast flag theory..
    I'm sorry, but I think your dad was right..
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