Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Do People Yield to Ambulances? Sometimes


This is not just a problem in the US. This is in Perth, Australia, where they drive on the left side of the road, so the directions are the opposite of driving in places where driving is on the right side of the road, such as the US and most of Europe.

The problems are the same as for ambulances in other countries.

This is a 2 minutes and 17 second news story that can also work as an excellent public service announcement.


Ambulances will get in the way of our driving. Get over it.

The people who refuse to yield to ambulances do not seem to be much different from those who want everyone to merge early when the number of traffic lanes decreases. Apparently, this is because they are afraid someone will get ahead of them or they just don’t know how to merge.

Sometimes people will get ahead of you. You will also pick the slowest checkout line to get into when shopping. Get over it.

A late merge, or zipper merge, will get everybody through faster.

We should not let the lowest common denominators determine how we drive.

Merging is all about taking turns and being mature behind the wheel.




Click on images to make them larger.

MUTCD = Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices or Early Merge.
vphpl = traffic volumes in Vehicles Per Hour Per Lane.





Figures 9 through 11 present an overview of how the late merge compared to the MUTCD treatment for the 3-to-1-lane closure scenario. It is clear in Figure 9 that the late merge had a significant impact on throughput at both free flow speeds, with a 120 to 130 vphpl increase over the MUTCD.

Figure 10 shows that the late merge is superior at various percentages of heavy vehicles. However, the difference between the two types of traffic control decreased as the percentage of heavy vehicles increased.

In Figure 11, throughput is higher at all volume levels for the late merge and rather consistent as compared to the MUTCD treatment.[1]



[1] Evaluation of the Late Merge Work Zone Traffic Control Strategy
AG Beacher, MD Fontaine, NJ Garber
2004 – trid.trb.org
Virginia Department Of Transportation
Free Full Text Download in PDF format from Virginia DOT