Construction workers aren’t the law
We all know there are 2 seasons; winter and construction. We’ve all experienced slower traffic flow during construction zones and we’ve needed to make adjustments in our route plans and how we drove through this area. Are there things that we may take for granted while driving through a construction zone that may cause us to crash or perhaps even cause us to get a ticket?
I was recently leaving my sub-division when I came upon a construction area. It was located at an all way stop with the flagman helping traffic. Well, supposedly helping traffic. As I was approaching the stop sign, he waved me to continue well before I had a chance to stop my vehicle. I stopped first before continuing because I was facing a legal requirement of stopping my vehicle before I could enter the intersection. There was also a hidden pathway on my left that I wanted to check to ensure a cyclist or pedestrian wasn’t coming out from there.
The dangerous part of this was the flagman was waving to have me drive through the stop sign. Regardless of the fact that they were holding a stop/slow sign, it was still my responsibility to obey the law and make my own driving decisions. The only person that can safely and legally wave anyone through a stop sign or red light is a police officer.
I remember a time years ago when I was teaching a student from Young Drivers of Canada when we were approaching a traffic light and construction zone. The light was red and the flagman was waving for us to proceed through the intersection. We refused to go and stayed stopped until the light turned green. He started to yell at us to go as we waited but I asked my student to hold their ground. I explained that the construction worked wasn’t the law and the driver could be charged for disobeying the law, especially if there was an incident with another road user.
I also remember a time when the traffic was only able to use one lane, which meant we had to take turns to pass each other. The flagman was distracted and didn’t change their sign back to ‘stop’ from ‘slow’. The problem was the oncoming flagman had their sign to ‘slow’ and oncoming traffic started to move toward us. I’m sure you can imagine how messed up the traffic became as drivers headed toward each other. This shows that the driver has to make the driving decisions.
The other interesting thing about the drive through my sub-division was the opposing flagman was pointing to where I had to drive. Kind of interesting since there was only one place to go since oncoming traffic was blocking any other lane. I really didn’t need their help. The flagman is there to ensure the general public and the construction workers and vehicles can work safely together. They only should be letting know when it’s safe to proceed because of lane closure or if construction vehicles are approaching. They shouldn’t ask you to break the law. That would, of course, be your own choice.