In the unlikely event that I am ever struck by an ambulance, I've always figured that my first thought would be, "Well, that's convenient." Being hit by a van full of medical equipment driven by well-trained first responders would be akin to collapsing in a hospital or getting hungry in the supermarket. But, alas, it's not that simple.
Art Hsieh, a licensed paramedic and EMS1 Editorial Advisor, tells me that when an ambulance is involved in an accident, "they are obligated to stop and exchange information, or [wait] until law enforcement arrives... Being in an emergency vehicle of any sort does not absolve you from that responsibility."
"You can imagine that there might be a wee bit of tension between vehicle occupants," he says. "Although I don’t know for sure, I would imagine most places would have another unit transport."
This protocol is the same even if the ambulance is already treating a patient when it gets in an accident. "They are to stop and exchange information. Another unit can be dispatched to take over care of the patient."
Ambulances aren't like ice cream trucks; they don't patrol the neighborhood looking for customers. "Ambulance services travel through each other’s areas constantly. There is usually a contracted provider for a specific area [and] for 911 calls," Art tells me. "That might be a fire department, rescue squad, or another private commercial service."
Sure, there are plenty of worse things on the road to be struck by than an ambulance, but our editorial policy is to advise that you err on the side of good sense and always avoid getting hit by any vehicle.