How my wife ended up crashing into an ambulance: Roadshow

Q: My wife was stopped at a traffic light on a four-lane road in a left-turn only lane. All of a sudden, she heard sirens and saw flashing lights in the rear-view mirror. The lane to the right of her was occupied, and the driver there was also stopped at the light. She looked at oncoming traffic and thought it was safe to turn to get out of the way. She made the turn, and ended up crashing into the side of the ambulance. The ambulance driver was driving on the wrong side of the road, set off by a double yellow line, going at a pretty good speed through a busy intersection against a red light. Our car was totaled.

The policeman told us that he would have to give my wife a ticket because the ambulance had the right of way, even though it was proceeding through a red light.

Please tell me your thoughts.

Larry Mandeville, East Longmeadow, MA

A: I sympathize with your wife and am sorry about the totaled car, but the policeman was right. Whenever you encounter an emergency vehicle with its flashing lights on, pull to the right if you can. If not, remain stopped and allow the ambulance driver to take whatever action is needed to get around your vehicle.

Q: My daughter is 17 and just got her license. When school starts letting the kids go back, I need her to be able to drive her 15-year-old sister to school. However, she was told that we will need to get a court order for her to be able to drive her sister to and from school.

I thought it was legal for a newly licensed teen driver to transport younger siblings to school. Has something changed that I just did not hear about?  I planned to put a note in the glove box identifying that my older daughter is the only source of transportation for her sister.

Tina Carter

A: No, she does not need permission from a court. Siblings can drive siblings to school when there’s no other practical way for them to get there.

Your daughter, the driver, must have a signed note from you in her possession verifying the reason that she is driving her sibling, and an estimated date when the need for this will be over. She should be prepared to provide this note to law enforcement should she ever be stopped.

And remember, during the first 12 months after getting a license, a driver under 18 cannot drive other teens unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, who is a licensed driver 25 or older. And during the first 12 months after getting a license, a teen driver cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Look for Gary Richards at or contact him at or 408-920-5335.

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Author: Gary Richards