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Ambulance driver: Frustrating when road hogs refuse to give way and even...

As an ambulance driver, his job is to get patients to the hospital as quickly as he can so that they can receive medical attention.

And last month, Mr Tommy Chong had possibly the most frustrating drive of his career when an inconsiderate driver not only refused to give way to his ambulance, but repeatedly braked for no reason, forcing him to do the same.

"First I high-beamed the driver, then used the sirens, then the horn, but he just refused to give way," said Mr Chong, 23. "He even jam braked three times; it was clearly intentional."

The New Paper reported the incident on Dec 11 last year, with the video of the incident going viral after it was posted on TNP's Facebook page. The video attracted more than 135,000 views.

After the frustration, Mr Chong said he was happy to know that the driver of the Hyundai Matrix that refused to give way to him was being dealt with.

Traffic police told TNP that they have concluded their investigations into the matter, and said action will be taken against the driver.

TNP understands that the driver will receive demerit points and a fine.

Speaking to TNP last week, Mr Chong, who works for Singapore Emergency Ambulance Services (Seas), talked about his frustrations that day.

He said that after using the sirens and the horn, he tried to accelerate to get past the road hog.

"When I tried to overtake him from the left, he sped up to prevent me from doing so," he said.

In the end, Mr Chong had to go back behind the car and use the loudhailer.

"I was left with no choice," he said.

"The driver's windows were open, so I used the loudhailer and read out the driver's licence plate number three times, asking him to move."

DAMAGE

The driver finally gave way after that, but the damage was done.

By the time they got to the hospital, the patient, Madam Whey, 45, had to be warded in the Intensive Care Unit.

Mr Chong said: "I was so frustrated. What if the patient had died?"

Thankfully, Madam Whey, who was in the hospital for four weeks, was discharged last Wednesday.

Mr Chong, who has been an ambulance driver for more than a year, said that while most people give way, there are those who refuse to do so.

"I've had about four incidents of drivers blocking me since I started," he said.

A spokesman for Seas said there have been incidents of patients dying because of inconsiderate drivers.

Mr Chong, who is also a trained paramedic, said it gets frustrating, as the ambulance drivers know what is happening behind them, but are unable to do much when blocked.

"You know that it's critical and you want to get the patient to the hospital," he said. "But you can't, because some drivers either have no knowledge of what's going on or just don't care."

Madam Whey's son, Mr Nicholas Whey, 21, a student, is thankful to Seas and believes his mother is still alive because of them.

"Their professional assistance made a big difference," he said. "It saved her life."

When told that the road hog is being dealt with and is expected to get demerit points and a fine, Mr Whey said he hopes such drivers will get harsher penalties to deter similar behaviour.

"It's a life that was at stake, a fine is not enough. There should be a jail term," he said.

Mr Chong said: "I think just a fine and demerit points do not deter them."

He also appealed to motorists to be more considerate on the road, especially when it comes to emergency vehicles that need to get past.

He said: "Please, just give way. Others are paying with their lives."

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