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Or was I driving like an idiot? (Diagrams included)

(162 Posts)
Bridgeofpies Wed 20-Mar-19 14:28:06

Right, so fully expecting to be flamed and told I was driving like an idiot but something happened a couple of days ago which shook me up and I’m keen to get others perspectives on if I was an idiot and, if so, what I should have done.

Sorry it’s a bit long winded!

So here’s the scene: Rural fast road, single carriageway in each direction with no verges or hard shoulder of any kind. Traffic is heavy enough to be a continuous stream on both sides of the road but light enough that everyone is travelling at 50-60mph with decent gaps.

I was driving along with 2 small DC in the car. An ambulance appeared in the rear view - blue lights, sirens etc. There was nowhere to pull in and my car is a 7 seater so with oncoming traffic coming around the corner ahead it would be hard / dangerous for ambulance to get past. So I drove along for a few seconds with the ambulance behind me. Then, the road widened as we approached a right hand turn with a space in the middle of the road for those turning right and there was a gap in the oncoming traffic (we were past the corner and could actually see) so I pulled in as close as I could and slowed to allow the ambulance to overtake. The oncoming traffic also hung back. I think this was all ok. I allowed the ambulance to pass me as soon as it was safe to do so, a matter of maybe 5 seconds with them behind me.

Once the ambulance had passed me I sped up again and continued on my way. The ambulance was quicker than me so was swiftly a good distance ahead - probably about 50m which is where the car in front was.

Now, the car in front was looking for somewhere to allow the ambulance to pass. There was a little driveway on the left which led to a farm gate and this car pulled into that to let the ambulance past. So far, so good. BUT he immediately swung out onto the road again behind the ambulance, forcing me onto the other side of the road to avoid him. LUCKILY there was nothing coming but I was really shaken. I wasn’t all that close to the ambulance, as I have a thing about cars travelling too close together but I was travelling around 50mph so it didn’t take long for me to cover the distance and this car just pulled out immediately without looking!

So, should I have expected him to do this and stopped?! I would have done if he had just slowed but remained in the road. I guess it took me by surprise because he totally left the carriageway and then immediately rejoined it. I wasn’t intending to travel on the ambulance’s coat tails and sneak through but I feel like maybe I did... and if there had been oncoming traffic we could have all been killed!!

I guess I should have been travelling slower but AIBU to think he should have checked the road before pulling back out??

Either way I will be more cautious in the future when people are getting out the way for emergency services!

Crap diagrams below which I don’t think adds much... (NB distances not to scale! grin)

JohnLapsleyParlabane Wed 20-Mar-19 14:31:55

I think you should have assumed that the car was allowing the ambulance past and would be coming back out immediately. That said, they should have looked more carefully.

Myneighboursnorlax Wed 20-Mar-19 14:32:27

I think you were in the wrong. The car in front should have checked before pulling out, but you knew they were only pulling in to let the ambulance go past. You knew they’d want to pull back out again. It’s not like you misunderstood and thought they were visiting the farm. You should really have slowed down to allow them back out. They should have checked too though.

CosmicVagina Wed 20-Mar-19 14:32:35

YABU, it's just polite to slow and let him remain.

CosmicVagina Wed 20-Mar-19 14:33:04


Nicknacky Wed 20-Mar-19 14:33:28

I’m in two minds about this and I think I would need to have seen what happened to decide if you were an idiot!

If I thought he had turned left and left the carriageway then I would have continued driving as you did.

However if from his road positioning it may have possible that he was allowing the ambulance to pass then I would have slowed down and expected him to pull back out.

Hard to say.

tigwig76 Wed 20-Mar-19 14:34:54

I wouldn't say you were driving like an idiot but would say you were careless sorry. You should have realised the car in front would have to pull in to let the ambulance past and slow down yourself to allow the car to pull back out again. I guess the other driver should have looked but I'm sure he/she didn't expect you to be doing 50mph behind an ambulance.

RB68 Wed 20-Mar-19 14:35:35

technically you were in the right and he should have waited, morally or just good roadliness (like good neighbourlieness) I would have hung back allowing him space to pull back out

brizzlemint Wed 20-Mar-19 14:37:16

He wouldn't have been able to see behind the ambulance when he pulled in and he was doing the right thing to let the ambulance past so you should have let him out.

Myheartbelongsto Wed 20-Mar-19 14:37:26

I hope the patient was OK.

Look at the bigger picture here.

Alsohuman Wed 20-Mar-19 14:37:27

To be fair, I’d have hung back and let him back out again. I tend to be quite cautious these days.

Princessmushroom Wed 20-Mar-19 14:40:43

You were in the wrong, you should have slowed down or stopped to let that car rejoin. I hate it when I pull over for emergency services and the fucker behind me then overtakes me and doesn’t let me out.

Wallsbangers Wed 20-Mar-19 14:40:56

YABU. It would be obvious that any car in front would need to pull over and come back out again so you should have been aware of this and prepared accordingly. The driver might have checked quickly but probably wasn't expecting you to be doing 50mph when it's expected that vehicles in front would be pulling over to let an ambulance past.

NeverHadANickname Wed 20-Mar-19 14:43:05

I always let the traffic rejoin in front of me that has pulled over to let emergency services past, everyone should rejoin in the same order I think.

littlepeas Wed 20-Mar-19 14:44:35

You were wrong. The other car should have looked before pulling out, but it’s really bad manners (and pretty stupid) to use someone pulling over to let an ambulance past as an opportunity to overtake.

Raspberry10 Wed 20-Mar-19 14:46:32

I always let the traffic instantly rejoin if they’ve pulled over for emergency services in front of me. I thought everyone did, so I think you were in the wrong.

Hereward1332 Wed 20-Mar-19 14:47:06

Morally you were wrong. Legally, you were in the right.

Bridgeofpies Wed 20-Mar-19 14:47:52

Yes so consensus seems to be I was driving like a bit of an idiot. This is kind of what I was thinking. As in, yes he should have checked but really I should have expected that he needed to slow / stop and pull in. It’s a good lesson.

Being honest, I wasn’t really thinking properly. I was kind of like, right ambulance is past so tick I’ve done my bit now just carry on as usual. But of course everyone in front needs to slow or stop too!

Mookatron Wed 20-Mar-19 14:49:19

Nah, the other driver should've looked properly. It would've been civil of you to wait though, did you not realise he would want to rejoin? Anyway luckily nothing bad happened, I wouldn't worry but always expect people to drive a bit unpredictably around ambulances in future.

MrsMozartMkII Wed 20-Mar-19 14:50:08

It's the norm to let cars rejoin where they were, so you were in the wrong in this instance.

diavlo Wed 20-Mar-19 14:50:49

You should have assumed that he was going to come straight back out, and it's polite to allow this. He should have looked to make sure that you were adhering yo this unwritten rule though.

Bridgeofpies Wed 20-Mar-19 14:50:54

Myheartbelongsto - not really sure what you mean. Yes of course I would hope the patient is OK but I got out of the way as quickly as possible. I wasn’t trying to impede the ambulance. The ambulance had gone past already.

It’s more that this thing has happened and it’s been playing on my mind because I had a feeling I was an idiot and am getting a lot of anxious “what if” flashbacks involving my young DC being in a serious car crash as a result of my being a twat so was hoping to get some advice in terms of that situation. Does that make sense?

Sexnotgender Wed 20-Mar-19 14:53:29

I agree with the majority that you were in the wrong.

I’ve had it happen to me where I’ve pulled over to allow emergency services to pass and some numpty hasn’t allowed me back out. It’s a dick move.

Nottalotta Wed 20-Mar-19 14:53:49

I don't were driving like and idiot, and yes the other driver should have looked but I think you should have expected the other driver to be pulling out and have driven accordingly. I wouldn't expect that driver to have to wait for a stream of traffic to come past before pulling out again. As you say, lesson learnt.

PuzzlingPuzzle Wed 20-Mar-19 14:54:21

Very harsh of you to try zoom past the car and not to let them back in when they’ve pulled in to allow an ambulance to pass. If I’d have seen it I would probably have thought you were being needlessly aggressive but it sounds like you were perhaps just unobservant. That said, they pulled off the carriageway so the responsibility is with them to wait for a gap to rejoin. If they’d have hit you it would have been their fault. Still a bit of a dick move on your part but it sounds like it wasn’t deliberate. No harm was done and you’ve said you’ll be more cautious next time so forget about it.

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