Next time you’re stuck in traffic and you feel a vibration under your seat, it’s not your cell phone. If you are driving in Montreal, Victoria, B.C., or Windsor, Ont., and an ambulance equipped with the Rumbler or the Howler comes by, you will feel the boom of a sound wave—as these Boston Globe videos demonstrate. The thumping effect is created by a pair of subwoofers attached to the bumper of the ambulance, making it seem like it’s one of those souped-up bass-pumping cars.
The point of course is to get people out of the way, which, according to a Montreal fire chief interviewed by The Globe and Mail, seems to be a growing difficulty in the age of iPods, smartphones and ultra-silent cars. We’re yet to see a device that will give ambulance drivers the ability to broadcast a “get-out-of-the-way” message directly through the speakers of every car in their vicinity, but maybe we shouldn’t be giving them any more ideas. The Rumbler and the Howler seem to work just fine, at least according to the Montreal fire chief.