Posted by: medicblog999 | July 15, 2009

Whoops…….that didnt work!!!!

roadworksI was reading Happy Medics blog the other day when he posed a question about what you would do in a certain situation when traffic at a junction gets busy and you need to make your way through to a job on lights and sirens. This made me remember of a funny (and embarrassing) moment when I was quite new to the job back in 2001.

I have posted in the past about the wonderful times I had with Dom before his unexpected and early death. This was another one of those times that we had difficulty stopping laughing.

Travelling on lights and sirens from Newcastle to Gateshead for a Cat A chest pain. Dom is driving and we are heading towards the Tyne Bridge when we suddenly come across some road works and the traffic moves down to single lane. We are almost at a stand still, with no where to go…….I look into the roadworks and see the familiar sight of no workers. The lane is completely empty for as far as I can see. The cones blocking the carriage-way are sufficiently far apart that we can get our ambulance through and proceed unhindered through most of the roadworks so that we can get to our time critical patient and save their life. (I was very new to the job and a little naive at that time) This was back in 2001, and during those years we were driving the American Chevy G40 Ambulances, which were just a tad wider than normal UK ambulances at that time

28_01_1---North-East-Ambulance-Service-Paramedic-Unit_web I look across at Dom.

M999: Just cut in through the cones Dom, we will easily fit through

Dom: No way, we’ll never get through there

M999: Of course we will, honest!!!

Dom takes a couple of seconds to think about it then cuts in through the cones.

We make a slow but steady progress forward, lights and sirens still on, but no sooner had we moved into the lane that we both heard


M999: What the hells that noise?

Dom looks out of his side view mirror..

Dom: Oh no!!!

It slowly dawns that Dom was actually right, our ambulance doesn’t fit through the reduced sized lane. Every time we pass a cone, it is clipped by the edge of the box at the back of our ambulance and is knocked over. However, the cones are now too close together to actually get back into the main flow of traffic, so we have no option but to continue on until the cones widen out again.


Finally, we come to the end of the lane, but our faces turn an even brighter shade of red than they already are when we realise that the cones have gotten even closer together towards the end of the roadworks. There is no way for us to get out.

M999: Oh Crap!!

Dom: Bo&%ocks!!

There is only one thing for it. I jump out of the cab and run round to the front of the vehicle and start moving some cones out of the way. I try my absolute hardest to avoid eye contact with any of the drivers of the cars that are passing us. I wish I could just disappear and return to the beginning of the que of traffic and just shut off my lights and sirens and wait in line with the other vehicles (as I would do now), but there is no where to hide!

Eventually I clear a space and Dom drives us back into the slow moving traffic. But hey, at least we have moved ahead and made a ‘progressive journey’ despite adverse traffic conditions!

I look up out of the front window and notice a van in front of us which I am sure I have seen somewhere before…..then it dawns on both Dom and I. We are right back where we started, sitting behind the same van from 5 minutes ago. The roadworks end and Dom blips his sirens to get the van to move aside. As we pass, I shrink down just a little further in my seat and look intently at the map book I have opened on my lap.

As I said in the title….Well that didn’t work!!

So Happy Medic, what would you have done???

P.S, Im hoping I may get a rant on my decision from my favourite Motor Cop blogger (you never know!!)



  1. well just be thankful you were not trying to cross the center divide of an interstate (motorway) which dips in the middle and then getting stuck……didnt happen to me but some other unfortunate soul.

  2. We have pictures somewhere of one of our long-time medics (and a fire Lt) getting the ambo high centered on a concrete median. The tires were just about 1 inch from touching the ground

    Epic fail.

  3. Shut down and wait my friend, shut down and wait.
    After advising radio we’re “delayed in traffic.”

  4. I think that when you have gone that far along the road works you were only left with one real option – what you did!

    But I bet you never go right to the end of the Motorway Roadworks again! lol

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