When slowing is worth it
For regular readers of my work you’ll know of my passion for promoting safe driving. After all, the title of this site is ‘The Safe Driver’. Even though I tend to put emphasis towards safely driving a vehicle, I do sometimes put emphasis on cyclists and pedestrian safety. This is one of those times to protect a special kind of pedestrian – the roadside worker.
We see this happen every year during road construction season; the roadside workers having a mere few inches between them and the driver of a passing vehicle who’s getting a little too close for comfort. As drivers, we need to make a change to this to help protect these workers. Since there are often signs indicating to the drivers to reduce speed as workers are present, drivers need to see these signs and respond accordingly. They’re not there for decorations.
While watching one of my current favourite TV shows, Highway Thru Hell on Discovery, it would often show drivers speeding past these crews who are trying to remove damaged or stuck vehicles from the side of the road. During a recovery of crashed or stuck vehicles, there’s often a flagman who stops traffic to assist the crew on the site. If you don’t think they have a dangerous job, think again.
During one specific episode a flagman was almost run down by a driver of a vehicle approaching them. It had shaken them up enough to quit their job. They didn’t want to put their life at risk any longer. I doubt the driver who was heading toward that flagman knows how their careless actions affected them. During the same episode, another driver failed to adjust to the warnings the flagman was providing and almost hit them as well. Luckily the sliding vehicle hit the parked flag truck and not the flagman running away for his safety.
Standing on the road to warn drivers of impending danger is a tough and dangerous job. Drivers need to realize these workers are not only assisting those who are working at the side of the road, but also helping the drivers who are passing by that scene to get through safely. It’s really time for all drivers to adjust and respect the job these people are doing. It’s not just about standing there holding up a “stop” or “slow” sign. It’s about ensuring the scene is safe for drivers and workers.
The same respect needs to be given to school crossing guards, paramedics, firefighters and police officers directing traffic. They too have a tough job to do. Show respect. Slow down and acknowledge their warnings and adjust to them. Look ahead for warning signs and flashing lights. Typically these warning signs would be orange as they are temporary. Speeding past may only help you save a few seconds of your trip. Slowing down may save lives.