Posted by: safedriver | January 30, 2016

Make time to check…double check

400-suvRemember as a kid in school you would be asked to do an assignment and before handing it in you would check it and sometimes double check or triple check it to ensure there was nothing wrong with it? Like many people, we’ve brought those checking and double checking skills with us through life. After making a grocery list we check to ensure we’ve listed all we need. Even Santa made a list. And checked it twice might I add. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t bother checking their vehicles before they get in and drive away. After all, nothing could go wrong, right? Wrong.

If you’ve listened or watched the news you’ll hear how wheels of large trucks have come off the trailer and crash into vehicles. When that happens and it hits another vehicle, it creates huge damage to that vehicle, creates serious injury and even death to its occupants. Recently that was just the case. The driver of the SUV which was struck by a truck tire was killed, which is such a tragedy. But could it be avoided? Here’s more info;

Commercial drivers must always do a pre-trip vehicle inspection. The purpose of the pre-trip Inspection is to be able to do a thorough safety inspection on a commercial vehicle before heading out onto the roadway. This takes a bit of time, but it ensures the vehicle is safe to operate and that nothing is missing or worn. Commercial drivers know this, but some fail to do it all the time. Don’t get me wrong, most commercial drivers take their responsibility seriously and know the importance of the pre-trip inspections. But those few who try to speed things up – there’s a problem. Here’s an example of the pre-trip inspection form commercial drivers should fill out;

These pre-trip inspections don’t have to be limited to drivers of these big rigs. Drivers of all passenger vehicles and light duty vehicles including work trucks can all do these inspections. Walking around your vehicle prior entering it can help ensure it’s safe to drive away and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to get the job done.

For the drivers of passenger vehicles and light duty service vehicles, let’s start at the back of the vehicle. Ensure your licence plate is visible but also ensure the sticker is valid and secure. Also ensure the trunk is closed, window cleared off, lights are clear and at some point, ensure the taillights, brake lights, reverse lights and signals all work. You can’t communicate so well if they aren’t working. If you’re carrying a load, ensure the load tied down properly so nothing can move away from the vehicle during its travels. Also ensure the load you have on your vehicle does not exceed government restrictions. For example, in Ontario a pickup truck can’t exceed a gross weight of more than 4,500 kg. if the pickup is not used for work purposes.

The sides of the vehicle come next. Ensuring the windows and mirrors are clear is important, but after that ensure the doors are properly closed, there’s no visible damage to the vehicle and you’ll need to check the wheels. Look for obvious under inflation and for wear to the tires. Front wheel direction ensures you’re not surprised by the direction the vehicle moves once you release the brake pedal. While driving, if you feel or hear a vibrating noise, don’t ignore it. Get it checked before something much worse happens.

This takes us to the front of the vehicle. Ensure the windshield is clear and the wipers are not obstructed with snow and ice in winter and not with leaves and twigs during the other seasons. They can decrease the use of the wipers and cause quicker wear to them. Not to mention they won’t work so well and can reduce the driver’s visibility. Ensure the headlights are clear and that there are no obstructions in front of the vehicle. This ensures you won’t run over anything as you begin moving. A quick glance to ensure the hood is closed in case someone checked under the hood since you last left your vehicle.

For the average driver, doing a mechanical check once a month is a good idea to all the lights work and checking the fluid levels as well will ensure you can catch any problems before they really begin being a problem. These are all proactive things every driver should do prior to entering their vehicle. If there’s nothing wrong with the vehicle it actually takes between 15 and 20 seconds to perform this inspection. We know commercial drivers take longer. They have more to do. So please be that professional driver and preform those inspections. You won’t regret it if you do…but may regret it if you don’t.

Posted by: safedriver | January 23, 2016

What does speeding really get you?

fantasy3I remember as a kid trying to keep up with my dad as he walked. His legs were much longer than mine since I was only a kid, so it was almost as if I had to jog to keep up with him when he was in a hurry. I kept thinking, man is he fast! As I got older, my legs obviously got longer and it was not a problem keeping up with him. Keeping up with people now, even while driving isn’t a problem either. However, there are still those people who always want to go fast. But why?

Teaching people to drive is always fun and interesting. Well, almost always. Getting a new driver behind the wheel becomes a task in itself to try to get them to press the gas pedal enough to travel at least half the speed limit in residential areas. They always feel it’s “just so fast”. Once they get used to that speed it does become easier to get them up to the speed limit. But what happens in a person’s life that takes them from that place to the place of having to drive well above the speed limit?

We constantly hear about drivers who we traveling so far about the speed limit that it made no sense. Here’s just such an example. Driving at such a high speed there would be no chance for survival if a pedestrian or cyclist got in their path. The first question I would want to ask them is “What were you thinking?” There’s absolutely no hurry to reach the next stop sign.

And then there’s this driver. Driving more than double the speed limit on a busy expressway. Was it just because they wanted to drive fast? Was it because they had a high powered vehicle? Only they know the true reasons. Granted, these two examples are speeding severely, but driving just 20 km/h over the speed limit in the city isn’t any better. The reality is it’s reckless. This isn’t a driving error. It was a choice the driver made. This is just a flagrant disrespect for everyone’s safety on the road, including their own safety.

For those who feel there’s nothing wrong with speeding on public roads, here are a few things you really should consider. If you’re speeding through the city you risk another driver pulling out from a side road or driveway just ahead of you. They glance back and see you’re far away and feel they have enough time to pull out. The problem is you’re driving so fast that the space between you and them is reduced so much quicker. The result is either a severe crash or you swerve to avoid them. That too could very easily end up in a crash…including with a light post, a building or into another vehicle. Injuries. Death. Financial loss. It’s more than about the fine.

Many highways and expressways are built for speed. The curves on those roads are banked to allow the driver to maintain their speed while handling the curve. Not so in the city. Taking a curve at a high rate of speed and inertia takes over. The result could be a skid or perhaps a rollover. Not really worth speeding now is it?

Stopping and braking distances have too many variables to give a specific number for specific speeds. However, driving twice the speed limit can increase your total stopping by roughly triple that of city speeds. That’s if the road conditions are ideal, your brakes are in excellent shape, your tires are at correct inflation and proper tread levels and your reaction times are top notch. See, I told you there were a lot of variables; and these are just a few.

Speeding through the city will almost always mean you reach the red light first. No problem, we’ll see you there in a few seconds. Speeding and weaving through traffic may allow you to gain a few seconds from where you were. So what? Is that enough of a time savings that can really make a difference in your life? Maybe if you left sooner, you wouldn’t feel the need to speed.

There’s a time and place for driving fast. Public roads are not that place. You could easily ruin the lives of others; not to mention your own. If you really want to drive fast, join a club that allows you to do it safely on a track with the proper safety equipment and training. Do this before you ruin the lives of others…and possibly your own.

Posted by: safedriver | January 12, 2016

A winter driving survival kit for your vehicle…and for you!

DSC02396When you speak with many experts in most any field, they’ll tell you preparation is an important part of success. That’s no different when it comes to winter driving survival. I often speak of how to drive in poor winter weather, but this time it’s more about preparation.

Many drivers will often put some form of winter driving survival kit together, but I’m here to enhance it – if you’re up for it. Let’s start by splitting the kits into two groups; one for the vehicle and one for the driver and passengers. Let’s start with the vehicle kit.

To ensure you’re prepared to dig out your vehicle and keep you moving along, here’s what’s recommended to have in your vehicle kit. Start off with an ice scraper with brush, small shovel, booster cables, salt/sand mix, extra washer fluid, a flashlight, flares, liquid flat tire repair, a tow rope, fluorescent vest, lock de-icer (kept in your winter coat), a small tool kit and a squeegee. These are all vehicle related and can help you get unstuck, clear your vehicle in one way or another and also flag down any other motorist to provide help.

cargo nettingMost of these can easily fit into a duffle bag. The rest can sit on the floor of your trunk or cargo area. There’s also products that attaches to the back of the seat in minivans, SUV’s or crossover vehicles that can secure them and not create a distraction for the driver. Not bad, huh?

Now let’s look after you, because you’re important. Here are a few ideas to help you personally if you get stranded or to help better prepare you get your vehicle unstuck. Start off with the following; extra pair of gloves/mittens, extra winter hat, extra socks, two plastic bags (to put your dry feet in then into your boots –keeps your feet dry and also acts like an insulator), a candle with lighter or waterproof matches (for a little warmth and to melt snow if needed), container for the candle (such as a clean soup can with no sharp edges), first-aid kit, extra batteries for the flashlight (kept out of the flashlight in case they leak), scarf, long underwear (for those really cold nights), blanket, hand/feet warmers, dried foods for protein, a book (it may takes hours before you’re rescued) and finally; toilet paper (because sometimes you really, really need to go).

Most of these items you can find around your home so they won’t really cost you much. They also aren’t very large items so they can fit easily into a small bin with a lid. This too can easily fit into your trunk or cargo area.

I know this seems like a lot of things and perhaps they are. But if you’re leaving the city/town limits and get stuck in an area that may not have help nearby, these things can not only help you free yourself and allow you to continue on your way, but can also help you feel more comfortable while you’re waiting until help does come your way.

**For more winter driving tips, check HERE**

Posted by: safedriver | January 2, 2016

Will new laws teach us to play nice with others?

crossing 2Rules; we have them whether you like it or not. Rules as a kid growing up helped mold us into responsible adults. Rules in school helped to guide us while we were educated. And rules throughout our adult life help to keep us in line. After a while it seems we forget about some of the rules and begin to do our own thing, but that’s not always a good thing especially when it comes to driving.

As of January 1, 2016 Ontario Canada has a few new laws to protect pedestrians from drivers… and from themselves. Drivers must now yield to pedestrians at marked crossovers (which are crosswalks in the middle of the block; not at intersections), school crossings or at crosswalks when a crossing guard is present. These should have all been common sense, but that hasn’t always been the case. That’s why new laws had to be implemented. In Ontario alone in 2013, there were over 4000 pedestrians injured and almost 100 killed on our roads. You can find the new laws here;

Here’s the troubling part; this new law could have been avoided if pedestrians and drivers could get along. Let’s first talk about pedestrians. Before stepping off the curb, look in all directions for vehicles, including cyclists. Right of way is something which must be given, not taken. Even if you think you should be allowed to go, the only thing that’s going to stop you from reaching the other side safely is a vehicle. Parents need to teach kids these rules from a young age so they can become habitual to them as they get older.

Even though most, if not all of us, were taught to look both ways or all ways before crossing the road, it doesn’t happen…especially since there are also so many distracted walkers within our communities. For this reason, drivers must always be looking for pedestrians who may be crossing or about to cross before they proceed. Sounds like common sense, right? Well, if that was the case, why did this new law have to come into play?

To tell you the truth, it is sad when the government has to create more laws to protect drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Why can’t we all self-govern ourselves so we can protect each other? It’s kind of like teaching your kids to do their chores at home. After a while you don’t need to micro-manage them any longer. They can do it on their own. There may be a few times you have to remind them, but overall they do what they’re supposed to.

So here’s the plan; drive like someone’s always watching you. As a driver, work as a team player and not as an individualist. Be patient and allow the pedestrians or cyclists complete their cross. Move your eyes from side to side to spot them early so you have time to safely yield to them. As a pedestrian, expect a vehicle each time before you cross. Ensure the driver is slowing before stepping off the curb. Never assume the driver will see you until they actually do.

If we can all work together, maybe we can reduce personal injury and fatalities. It’s time to prove to ourselves we can follow rules and play nice with others.

Posted by: safedriver | December 31, 2015

Reasons why I promote road safety…and you should too

Hamilton 2-20130911-00570I’ll sometimes be asked why I write about so many basic driving techniques. It’s simple; not everyone had these skills taught to them when they first learned to drive and others were taught them, but had completely forgotten them over their years of driving. Other reasons I write these types of articles – to get people to think of their own driving. Explaining what drivers should do or shouldn’t do while driving can help keep them safe on the roads.

Understandably, life is busy. There’s so much on our minds we tend to forget some of the simple things we’ve learned over the years. As someone I know would often say; “If you want me to remember something new, I need to forget something old. My brain’s too full”. With all that in mind, part of giving out this information is having the open-mindedness to accept it – or at least to think about it.

New information regarding vehicles and driving techniques comes to us each year and it’s important to share that with the motoring public. Sometimes new ideas or thoughts come about that often make you think about your own driving. Well, at least it should. That’s always been my goal; to get you thinking of your own actions. Could you improve? Could that change in your driving save a life?

While watching our local news on TV a while ago the reporter interviewed a professional driver; someone who drives for a living. When asked about them taking a driver improvement program, he replied “I’ve been driving most of my life. I know everything.” That response was scary and sad at the same time. The moment you close your mind to learning new things, you’re creating a risk for at least yourself. That includes while driving.

Writing these articles is most likely the easiest part. Getting people to read them may be more difficult. Getting people to think about the information compares to their own driving is probably the most difficult. If any of these articles has someone saying “Hey, I didn’t know that. I should give it a try” then it would be worth it. So far the response has been pretty good; but it can get better.

So maybe you can help. Read and share the information. Use the search function to the right to find other topics you need clarifications with. Together; we can help keep our roads safer. I won’t give up educating. I hope you won’t give up trying to be a safe driver. That’s why I write.

If you like this article, please help support the effort of a new website for safer roads. Support HERE

Posted by: safedriver | December 10, 2015

Do you retaliate to horn honking?

weave 2No one’s perfect; I get that. Mistakes do happen and if we’re lucky, we can learn something from them. But let’s be honest with ourselves; no one wants to make a mistake and many people dislike being told when they do make a mistake. Driving takes teamwork and the ability to swallow your pride if you do make a mistake. With that being said, how do you take it when someone honks at you because you’ve made a mistake?

While I was recently out for a walk, I saw a vehicle approaching my way who was straddling their lane. Their driver’s side wheels were across the lane markings with traffic in the next lane. It was a few seconds later that a driver approaching from their side tapped the horn to get their attention to move back into their lane. The reply of the driver straddling the lane – they honked back…and a few times at that. I guess they took offence of the horn honking.

Honking the horn doesn’t always have to be negative, does it? In this case, it was more like; ”Excuse me, but you’re partially in my lane and I would like to get by.” I think the correct response could have been; “Oops, okay.” as the driver fully returned to their own lane. Being corrected after a mistake is normal and part of life. Accept it and move on.

I remember driving down a busy street with one lane in each direction but with parked vehicles at the side of the road in both directions. As I came up to one area, a pedestrian was walking toward my path from between the parked vehicles not looking in my direction. I tapped my horn to get their attention and they flipped me off and yelled obscenities at me. Why? Was their intention to walk directly in my path to get struck by my vehicle? I doubt it.

North America seems to have taken a negative approach to horn honking compared to other jurisdictions. A light tap of the horn has been deemed a “friendly” form of honking, yet some drivers still take offence to that. As I would say to my kids; “Suck it up, buttercup.” It’s not the end of the world. It’s a friendly reminder to pay more attention to what you’re doing so you don’t get injured or killed.

Now, when you are annoyed, I’m sure you’ve laid on the horn long and loud, haven’t you? You really wanted to let that other person know you were really annoyed with what they did, right? How do you feel after honking? Better? Good, but you need to let go of that situation and stay focused on the driving task. If not, you may be the one getting honked at next. If so, how would you take it?

**Here’s another look at when honking isn’t a good idea; “Honk twice if you love me”

Posted by: safedriver | December 6, 2015

It’s not the road that causes the crash

246459_10151294133837391_1048474911_nRaising four kids has taught me a lot. One of those things it taught me is to get my facts straight before I lay blame. It also taught me to do that with other things in life as opposed to jumping to conclusions. Driving is one of those things. Many times I’ve heard how people would blame roads for the cause of crashes. How is that possible? The road doesn’t do anything. It just sits there. Wouldn’t it be more of the actions of the driver that would cause the crash?

Granted, having certain safety aspects would help protect drivers from interfering with other drivers in case of loss of control, but that would be after the initial loss of control. Anywhere from 85% to 90% of vehicle crashes are caused by driver error, depending upon your jurisdictions. So why are authorities blaming the roads? The remaining 10% to 15% of crashes can be associated to mechanical failure or unforeseen road or weather conditions.

We all know rain, snow and ice are slippery and can affect the control of the vehicle, but it’s the driver’s actions which causes the vehicle to lose traction. Having poor tires on the vehicle is the decision of the driver. Drivers tend to drive too fast and over estimating their abilities to handle their vehicle during these conditions. Late braking, taking chances while turning, distracted driving and following too closely are just some of the common driving errors which cause serious collisions across most jurisdictions every day. If conditions are that bad, ask yourself why drive?

Three of the most common crashes are loss of control, rear crashes and intersection crashes. These can all be prevented with just one change – the driver’s actions. We’re so quick to blame someone else or something else for the crash. It’s like putting your hand in a fire to pull out a burning log then blaming the log for the burn on your hand. No one really wants to say “yeah, I screwed up” after a crash, but it’s really true.

IMG_1464Every day – and I do mean every day – as I drive I witness countless numbers of drivers following too closely, braking late, cutting off other drivers while turning, speeding and not paying attention while driving. These can all be corrected if drivers made a slight change in their driving attitude and their skillset. Following distance is not measured by car lengths. It’s measured by seconds behind the vehicle ahead. A proper following distance gives you time to see brake lights ahead, time to get your foot to the brake pedal and time to stop. This explains more here Following Distance

DSC00131Drivers need to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles before turning across their path. Forcing another driver to brake for your actions is unacceptable. That’s a lot of trust in someone else isn’t it? Patience is important and not taking chances because you’re late reaching your destination. Giving you the advantage of knowing if someone else is cutting across your path can be explained here Wheel Direction

IMG-20121011-00357Rear crashes can be avoided, but you have to be ready for it. As the driver sitting stopped in traffic, you need to be ready to move out of the way. Using an empty lane, sidewalk or front lawn may be the escape you need. Monitoring your mirrors keeps you up-to-date as whether you need to move out of the way of potential danger from behind. This explains a lot more here Avoiding Rear Crashes

If you’re the driver approaching stopped traffic, acknowledge the road conditions and brake early. This gives you extra time to stop in case the road conditions reduce your traction. This explains more here Brake Early

cell imageWhat can I say about distracted driving that hasn’t already been said? Driving is your job when you’re behind the wheel. Staying focused allows you to protect yourself, your passengers and other road users you may come across. Has distracted driving become so common that many feel “it won’t happen to them”? Or do these drivers really feel they can handle it, despite what the professionals have recommended? This explains more here Distracted Driving

So if the road causes crashes, think about this. If millions of drivers travel these roads each and every year, how come more crashes aren’t happening? If it was indeed the road, there would be hundreds of thousands of crashes – but there aren’t. The crashes are human related, which means they can stop. It’s really up to you.

**For more driving topics, use the search function at the side of this page.

Posted by: safedriver | November 25, 2015

If you have winter driving anxiety, this will help

003 (2)Let’s face facts; there are many things we avoid doing because of fear. We may not want to admit it, but we tend to avoid doing things because we’re afraid of what might happen. Our fear consumes us so much we can’t stop thinking about this fear. Know what I’m talking about yet? It’s the fear of driving in winter weather. What if you found solutions to this fears – perhaps a compromise – would that allow you to tackle your winter driving anxiety? I hope so, because I’m about to help you.

The first step of controlling this winter driving anxiety is confidence. Having confidence in yourself as a driver and confidence your vehicle is ready to handle the winter conditions will help you reach your destination safely. Let’s start with your vehicle. Preparing your vehicle for winter is more than a check-up. Placing winter tires on your vehicle will help your vehicle grip the road better. Winter tires are a softer rubber compound than all-season tires and therefore are more flexible when the temperature drops compared to the all-season tires. Winter tires are known to stop the vehicle quicker than all-season tires and grip the road better to allow the driver to accelerate more effectively. More info about winter tires here.

002 (3)Ensure your vehicle is ready to drive before you get into it. Ensure all the snow, ice or frost has been scraped off the windows, mirrors, headlights and tail lights. This allows for complete visibility for both you and so other road users can see you. Just before you begin to clear your vehicle, start the engine. By the time you complete your clearing, the defroster and fan can do their job to improve the visibility from inside your vehicle. More info about clearing your vehicle can be found here.

Now that your vehicle is ready to go, you need to be ready. Ensure you’re not wearing bulky clothes. Heavy winter coats prohibit arm movement and can affect how you steer. After the vehicle is warm inside, take that winter coat off and wear a sweater instead. Thick soled boots also affect how you apply the gas and brake pedals. Wearing winter boots in winter weather is a good idea, but perhaps store those big heavy boots in the trunk in case you get stuck and need to get out and dig. Wear thinner soled boots or shoes to help you get in touch with your pedals. More info can be found here.

Now you’re driving. Things will need to change compared to driving during other seasons. Looking at least two blocks ahead will help you spot a change in traffic patterns, such as noticing brake lights or if everyone in your lane is changing to the next lane. Don’t wait until you see the reason; change lanes early. If you need to brake, brake early and gradually. This allows you to keep your vehicle under control.

As you travel in traffic, increase your following distance. Many drivers make the mistake of using car lengths to measure this distance. It’s actually measured in seconds. Normal road conditions can allow drivers to maintain a minimum of two seconds behind the driver ahead of them. In slippery conditions, double that distance. When the driver ahead of you passes a fixed item at the side of the road, begin counting. You should reach that same fixed item a few seconds later. A bigger following distance allows you to brake early and more gradually. Braking late may cause more panic and perhaps a skid. Why add to your anxiety by braking late? More info can be found here.

Give yourself more time to reach your destination. If the conditions are less than ideal, leave with lots of extra time so you won’t need to take chances with your driving decisions. Better yet, if the weather is too severe, stay home or take public transit. Let the professionals do the driving.

Hopefully you’ll take these tips to heart. Share with those who may also have winter driving anxiety. It’ll make a big difference when it comes to driving safely in winter weather. And one final tip to rid yourself of winter driving anxiety – don’t forget to breathe.

If you like this article, please help support the effort for safe roads. Support HERE

Posted by: safedriver | November 9, 2015

What can you learn from Canada’s Worst Drivers?

CWDEvery year for the past 11 years, Canadian viewers have viewed, laughed and most likely screamed at various drivers they’ve viewed on a weekly basis. Now, why would anyone laugh each week at drivers they’ve seen make mistakes, crash or break down and cry? It’s because they’re watching Canada’s Worst Driver on Discovery. Check their website here;

Ever since the first season which aired in 2005, the show has had quite a following. I spent the first three seasons as an on-air judge for the series, so I do know a little about the drivers on the show. During that time I’ve spoken to many people who say how much they love the show. They continue to ask me the same questions; are they really as bad as the show makes them out to be? Yes and no.

Many of the participants I’ve met over the years are very nice people. They are very talented when it comes to many things, just not when it comes to driving. So, how much can we really learn from watching Canada’s Worst Driver? Maybe more than you may realize. Let me explain a few of the hidden messages.

If you watch the show you’ll notice quite often the passenger gives out poor advice or they yell at the driver when they make a mistake or drive carelessly. Normally, that usually leads to more mistakes. How does this help the driver make proper driving choices? If we’ve learned anything over recent years, distractions really stop drivers from thinking about the driving task. Every now and then during the series we see a different person in the passenger seat while the participant does a challenge. They sometimes perform better, which proves if the driver can remove distractions, they can focus more on their driving task. Maybe this can work for you as well.

Another thing we can learn from watching Canada’s Worst Driver is where they look and how they handle the vehicle. The drivers who crash into things often look at what they’re trying to avoid. This is commonly referred to as target fixation. Instead, look to where you want the vehicle to go. If you have a long passage way to get through, such as during the eye-of-the-needle, look to the exit as you approach the entrance. Your peripheral vision will guide you through it. You’ll have a better chance of getting the vehicle to go there if you do. It’s basically hand-eye, or eye-hand, co-ordination.

Ever notice the drivers who crash their vehicle rarely reposition their vehicle in a tight space? Decision-making is a huge part of driving safely. If you’re coming to a situation you feel is not the best, change it. If the participants are getting too close to another vehicle, stop and reposition the vehicle. If they can’t see how close while driving at low speed, perhaps stop and safely exit the vehicle and take a better look.

As you view the episodes, whether it’s a current season or the former seasons in reruns, (remember seasons 1 through 3 are my personal favourites. That’s me in the middle) I’m sure you’ll be laughing and offering advice to the drivers through your TV set. Maybe next time, ask yourself what you would have done differently to not let those things happen to you. See, you can learn something positive for your own driving from watching Canada’s Worst Driver.


Posted by: safedriver | November 5, 2015

When slowing is worth it

safety blitzFor 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.

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