Fire trucks are intended to get to the scene of a fire quickly so that emergency crews can save lives and stop fires. However, fire trucks also pose a risk of traffic accidents. Fire trucks are designed to speed to the site of a fire and these vehicles can legally run red lights in order to offer life-saving services. However, many things can go wrong when a fire truck is racing to the scene of an emergency:
1) Other cars and pedestrians may not follow safety rules regarding fire trucks. Both pedestrians and cars are supposed to yield right of way to fire engines who have lights and sirens on. Cars should pull over to the side of the road to allow fire trucks and other emergency vehicles through. Pedestrians should steer clear of these trucks and allow trucks through at all times. Unfortunately, many people simply do not follow these rules. Some drivers actually race after fire trucks, hoping to run a red light, too. When pedestrians and drivers do not yield right of way, auto accidents, fire truck accidents, and pedestrian accidents can be the inevitable result.
2) Truck driver training may be inadequate. Fire truck drivers need extra training to deal with the excessive speeds required to get to an emergency and the special equipment inside a fire truck. Drivers without adequate experience and training are more likely to cause an accident.
3) Truck size may be a factor. Fire trucks are large, long, and loaded with life-saving equipment. Many fire trucks are 8 feet wide and 31 feet long, weighing 20 tons with all equipment on board. This can make them more challenging to drive. In areas where narrow streets are a problem, navigating a fire truck can be very difficult unless a driver is very experienced and well-trained.
4) Some drivers park illegally. When drivers of passenger vehicles park in illegal spots or too close to fire lanes, fire trucks in a rush may experience fender benders or may brush or collide with these vehicles. Many fire truck accidents are minor fender-bender type collisions with parked cars. In cities with narrow streets, especially, correct parking is essential.
Unfortunately, fire truck accidents have far-reaching consequences. Fire trucks that have been in an accident may be out of service, reducing the number of life-saving vehicles available on the road in an emergency. A small number of people sustain injuries due to fire truck accidents each year, although fatalities are rare.