Ambulance crash highlights dangers EMS drivers face every day

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Every day Will Collette begins at the same start point at Forsyth County Emergency Services, but never goes to the same destination.

"I know in my heart that when I show up on scene, I can help somebody," Collette said.

After a drunk driver hit an ambulance hard enough to knock it on it's side Sunday in Winston-Salem, it's a reminder of the random dangers drivers like Collette face every day. He's been working for Forsyth County EMS for 10 years. He says he needs to be prepared for "anything you can imagine," when going to a call.

But sometimes even getting to a scene requires the same practice, focus and preparation it takes to handle an emergency situation.

"The biggest problem is just people who aren't paying attention or just don't know what to do, which is slow down, pull over to the right, so we can safely pass on the left side of the road," Collette said.

FOX8 tagged along for a quick ride in the ambulance around Winston-Salem. With emergency lights flashing, Collette slows down to a stop at a busy intersection. Several cars pass by before letting the ambulance pass. Collette says that happens almost every day, and just because his lights are flashing doesn't mean he can break the law, but he does have the right of way.

"The best thing you can do when driving is just be very defensive and try to watch out for the people around you," Collette said.

He says there's a lot of anticipation that goes into driving emergency traffic. Collette also says reading the flow of traffic is crucial to make adjustments.

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