Pull Over, Lives Are at Stake

A minor accident in which a Bridgehampton fire truck responding to a call struck a passenger car near the intersection of Montauk Highway and Sagg Road on Monday should be a reminder to all motorists here to yield to emergency vehicles. It is not obvious from what we know so far who was at fault in the incident, but no one was hurt. Nonetheless, that something like this could involve so visible a piece of fire equipment suggests that other vehicles, like the personal ones used by fire and emergency medical volunteers to respond to a call, are less visible still.

Readers of The Star, we assume, know the meaning of the blue or green lights that signify a volunteer on his or her way to an emergency. Visitors accustomed to only official fire and E.M.S. vehicles may be mystified. The rule is that a driver should pull to the side of the road when one of these vehicles approaches; in reality this does not happen often enough.

Local officials have to think hard about how to get the word out. One obvious idea would be to place road signs reminding motorists to move right when they encounter a vehicle bearing a blue or green flashing light, as well as clear the way for marked ambulances and fire trucks. But that may not be enough. Luckily, social media and online advertising could be brought to bear. It would not be all that difficult — or expensive — for towns and fire districts to buy advertising space targeting searches such as “East Hampton vacation rentals” or “best Hamptons restaurants” to reach the transient audience. And posting on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook is free. All it will take is a little creative thinking.

No one method is going to be effective with everyone who uses the South Fork’s too-busy roads, but that is no excuse for officials not to try every tool at their disposal. Lives are, quite actually, at stake.



A recent P.S.A. from LTV