Monday, August 17, 2009

Stay Back 500 Feet

I don’t have a chance to post as much as I would like anymore, or check other posts, but I have been trying to at least keep up with the Friday Hometown Shootouts. Next week, unless I’ve messed up again, the theme is “Signs” and it has been a hoot!

However, I need to report in advance one particular sign that I’ve been trying to get a picture of but can’t so it will NOT appear on Friday. As almost every licensed driver (at least in most of the United States) knows, the law requires you to stay back 500 feet from fire trucks and ambulances. In case you missed the answer on the driver’s test when you were 16 years old, there is also a sign on these vehicles that will remind you: “Stay Back 500 Feet.”

The reason I have been unable to get a picture of this sign is that I cannot afford to buy the 1000 millimeter telephoto lens required to shoot it.

Has anyone ever realized how far 500 feet is?!!!! It’s almost the length of two football fields!!

The other day, waiting at a red light, an ambulance came through and I had to put the car in reverse and back up as fast as I could, weaving backward through a line of cars who obviously didn’t know the law!

If you can read the sign on the fire truck that says “Stay Back 500 Feet” you are already too close!

The only reason I can think of the Department of Motor Vehicles could have ever came up with that overly ambitious measurement is that, in the early days, firemen used to stand on the back bumper, holding on to the truck, and if they fell off, they didn’t want people running over them. But nobody rides on the back of trucks anymore – and nobody ever rode on the back of ambulances – and, besides, the only vehicle that can’t stop in the length of two football fields is a freight train.

Whenever I hear a siren, I simply pull over and park for 15 minutes or so.

So that is one sign that will NOT be in my shoot-out post. Although I may not be able to post at all because I’ll probably be parked somewhere trying to figure out how to get home without coming within 500 feet of a fire truck.


  1. See if you can find a parked one. You are the man. You can make anything happen. Can't you? I think I heard that somewhere.

  2. So funny! I love the huge GO BACK YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY signs we get on our freeway exits...just in case you are a moron and decide to use it as an entrance.......


    I miss you


  3. Mercy you are a big mess. Hope you find your way home at some point this week :)

  4. all these road signs and most of the traffic rules have no value in India. In India any thing is possible. many people break the traffic rules as there is no fear of cops. just pay some money to him and get away with any thing

  5. We have the 500 feet sign on school buses too. If they are on a curved road, you don't even see them letting off kids until you come round the bend. The rule just doesn't work! We scored a blog today!!!
    Dogs: nah, nah, nah, nah, boo, boo!
    Bloggers: 1
    Dogs: many
    Thanks for sharing Mark, you nice dogs! =D

  6. 500 feet? I never noticed. But, of course, they are usually going 100 miles an hour. So unless you want to speed up to follow them, which I have done as a photographer, you should naturally be 500 feet or more in the rear.

    Now, you should get Fu out and try to do a little ambulance chasing. Give the keys to Bagman.

  7. Thank goodness you don't live near a fire station! You could never go out. You'd be stuck in your driveway all day long.

    And Michelle, when I lived in Minnesota it seemed every month or so some elderly person could really have used the advice on the GO BACK WRONG WAY signs on the freeway! Only, if you're already driving the wrong way on the freeway, no wimpy little sign is going to put you right.

  8. I, too, have been struggling to keep up with other posts of late. Glad I caught this one, though. Really enjoyable.

  9. What's up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this article i thought i could also make comment due to this sensible piece of writing.

    Here is my webpage; cellulite treatment cream