I tend to watch a lot of home renovation shows lately, trying to get ideas of how to improve the look of my home. They’re quite interesting, but I find they all tend to reinforce safety while using power tools. When I had my oldest son help me with a project and we had to use the power saw, I made sure he had safety glasses on. Why take that chance, right? It only takes a second or two to make a mistake that can affect the rest of your life, so why not think it through first to ensure you’re doing it safely.
This made me think about passing disabled vehicles on the side of the road. I’ve watched drivers pass motorists who are changing a flat tire on the driver’s side, but not giving them any space to do it safely. Since there’s a vacuum of air that follows our vehicle, it could cause that driver to lose their balance and fall onto the road surface into the path of the next driver. How would you feel if your actions cause the death or serious injury of another individual?
When I’m driving or teaching new drivers at Young Drivers of Canada, we’ll slow down and change lanes early for any vehicle that is on the shoulder of the highway or freeway, plus for any other vehicle that has broken down and the driver is standing near their vehicle. By slowing down and changing lanes early, it may send a message to the other drivers who are following us and they may do the same thing. It also allows those people to attend to their vehicle in safety.
The ‘Move Over Law’ that protects our emergency service personnel helps to keep the police, fire and paramedics safe when attending to a driver or passenger of a vehicle at the side of the road. But what about the other people who are at the side of the road? Why not do the same actions when anyone is at the side of the road with a broken down vehicle? Creating space between your vehicle and people at the side of the road will help protect them in case they get too close to the lane.
Remember, your proactive actions can become contagious to other drivers. If more people think about their actions before they do them, our driving society may become just a little bit safer.