“They asked me who I think I am, what I think I’m playing at, and accused me of making a song and dance over nothing,” fireman Theo Herrmann told broadcaster Hessenschau.
Herrmann was describing what happened on Wednesday when the emergency vehicle he was driving attempted to reach the scene of an accident on the A5 Autobahn near Darmstadt.
A 49-year-old construction worker had fallen five metres from a bridge and was so severely injured in the accident that he needed to be attended to at the scene by emergency crews.
Photo: Feuerwehr Mörfelden
With a section of the road blocked, a traffic jam quickly formed, and police had to escort the first ambulance through the congestion, indicating to drivers that they should build a rescue corridor.
But dozens of cars moved into the empty passage that had been cleared, hoping to beat the traffic, and thereby blocking the way for the four emergency services vehicles which were arriving behind them.
After taking 20 minutes to drive through the first two kilometres of logjam, the medics gave up and covered the last 800 metres on foot, carrying all their equipment with them.
To the surprise of Herrmann, far from being apologetic, the drivers who had blocked the road started insulting them.
The fireman told Hessenschau that, when he and his colleagues warned drivers that they were breaking traffic laws and asked how they would feel if they were involved in the accident, they got the response: “Then that’d be too bad for us.”
Emergency crews photographed the licence plates of 30 of the vehicles and handed them in to police on Friday.
Driving into an emergency corridor comes with a fine of €20 in Germany, moderate in comparison with the €726 imposed in Austria.
But drivers repeatedly break the law, as was the case three weeks ago when a rescue operation on the A67 Autobahn was delayed by an hour when drivers drove into the rescue corridor.
“It happens again and again that rescue corridors are closed, but the complete lack of care we saw this time, that was something new,” said Herrmann.
SEE ALSO: Why I never want to drive on the Autobahn again