We've had some interesting weather in southwestern British Columbia over the last few days! It's included some less than ideal driving conditions due to ice, snow and rain, often in combination. A common bit of advice heard in the media is "if you don't have to travel, stay home!" Does anyone heed this advice?
For most of us, the only way to get where we need to go in a day is to drive and probably what we see as the biggest necessity is the need to drive to work. If you look out the window, decide it is not safe to travel and call your employer it will probably cost a day without pay or a day of vacation. For those workers not so fortunate, it could mean the loss of a job.
I called the Employment Standards Branch and Worksafe BC to see if there were any job protections for employees who decided that it was unsafe to travel and did not show up for work as expected. I was told that the employer could fire an employee at any time for any reason. Unless the worker is part of a union and there was something contained in the collective agreement, you were on your own for any job consequences stemming from your decision.
Little wonder then that a work day with significantly bad driving conditions still sees the usual rush to get there. Everyone has balanced their safety with the need to feed themselves and keep a roof over their heads and staying home is not in the cards.
If you are an employer, perhaps this would be a good time to talk about a safe commute to and from work for your employees. While a missed day of work is an inconvenience for the business, losing the employee due to a collision for any length of time could be worse. If conditions are really bad, maybe you should call it a snow day.
The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.
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Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years in his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP. It was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and now Castanet.net. Schewe retired from the Force in January of 2006, but the column became a habit and continues.
E-mail him your questions or concerns: [email protected]
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