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Letters  

Slow down and move over

Imagine.

Imagine, you arrive to work Monday morning, hang up your jacket, say “hi” to the co-workers, take a seat at your desk, start up the computer and suddenly - out of nowhere, two 18-wheelers, side by side, are flying at 125 km/hr towards you. What do you do?!

Nothing. The answer is nothing. Maybe you hope for the best, wave at them and hope that they see you; pray that one changes lanes and that both slow down. The gust of air created by 50,000 pound truck/trailer combos is enough to blow all those papers off your desk and make your ears pop!

Sure, you don’t have traffic concerns at your work, but I do. Every few seconds I have that same feeling and think those same thoughts; do they see me, will they slow down, will they move over, or will they — like they did last night — hit the rear of our highly visible vehicle (it has a 5 foot flashing arrow and strobe lights) sending us into the ditch or into more speeding traffic.

My desk is a dash. My office is a cab. My job is shadowing a street sweeper ensuring it doesn’t get rear-ended by an 18-wheeler doing 125 km/hr. Don't worry, this spring your highways will be free and clear of sand, rocks, tools, scrap metal, chunks of concrete and all sorts of other debris, just in time for you to enjoy your convertible, motorbike, jacked-up diesel or other luxury item. My job doesn’t pay me enough to have toys like that. You would think with risk, comes reward, but not in our world.

All I ask is next time you see a construction sign, a “slow moving vehicle ahead” sign, a flagger sign, an amber flashing beacon, a car with its four-way flashers on, or even just a person or vehicle on the side of the road; pay attention: slow down and move over. Activate your four-way flashers to let those behind you know something is up and to let me know that you see me; sitting here in the lane with my arrow on, and that you ”get it”.

Slow to 70 when the limit is over 80. Slow to 40 when it's under. I know your time is valuable, but isn’t my life valuable too? Can you spare a second or two to ensure I will make it home tonight?

Remember, slow down and move over; not just for red, blue or amber flashing lights – slow down and move over for the guy changing a flat tire on his car, the lady with her hood up and steam leaving the engine, the mechanic helping a family get back on the road – everyone deserves the courtesy, it shouldn’t need enforcement. (it gets none)

Last year, we had a vehicle hit between Lake Country and Kelowna. Last night, about two kilometres from the previous location, we had another hit. Thankfully in both cases, our co-worker survived. If you see a bright orange sign; read it. If you see a giant flashing arrow; don't drive into it. If you see someone working roadside; don't gear down and blast exhaust at us but instead: slow down and move over. I would do it for you! 120km/hr is 109 feet per second, think of that when you are passing our vehicle; will you be able to react in time when you find out what the hazard ahead is? We aren't here for fun, and obviously not for financial gains.

In your neighbourhood, ask yourself that same question; if a child or pet entered the roadway while you are travelling at that speed, could you react in time to protect the innocent and avoid tragedy?

Troy Gangl, general manager, Creative Traffic Calming



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