Commentary – Slow down for emergency vehicles alongside highways!

Mac Olsen

It’s frustrating and enraging to no end – seeing private passenger vehicles speeding by emergency service vehicles while they’re dealing with collisions and other emergencies.

A recent incident should make all drivers think twice and slow down. According to an RCMP news release, an incident occurred near Valleyview on Jan. 13.

At approximately 8 p.m., a tow truck was stopped on the shoulder of Highway 49, near Township Road 720.

It was loading a vehicle onto the flatdeck when an SUV climbed the ram struck the vehicle that was to be towed. Fortunately, no one died in this avoidable incident.

The tow truck operator was transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

None of the three people in the SUV were injured, but the driver has been charged with driving carelessly.

Nnext time, someone might not be so lucky.

Do you want that on your conscience? Do you want to live with the memory of somebody’s death or life-altering injury because you were too impatient or callous to slow down?

I recently found a poster put out by the Alberta Motor Association, that says it all regarding caution and slowing down when passing emergency vehicles on the highway:

“Everybody deserves a safe place to work.

“Alberta’s laws for safely passing emergency vehilces and tow trucks are strictly enforced.

“Slow down. Give us room to work.”

Also be mindful that you are required to stop for emergency vehicles, whether they are coming from behind you or from the opposite direction, when they are on their way to an emergency.

Again, it is frustrating to see drivers continuing on non-chalantly when emergency vehicles are in close proximity to them.

Not stopping for emergency vehicles is not just a safety issue, it can also lengthen the time they need to get to an emergency.

Whether you’re driving in town or on the highway, STOP! You are required to do so. It’s not an option, it’s the law.

And while I’m on the subject of speeding vehicles, I will point out that the maximum speed allowed when travelling through the intersection at Donnelly Corner is 80 km/h.

There are signs posted on the north and south sides of that intersection with this reminder. And yet, some drivers – including truckers – choose not to obey the speed limit, going through at 100 km/h or higher.

It’s like there are two sets of rules, one set for the perpetrator and one set for everybody else.

The Alberta Sheriffs patrol that intersection on occasion, but on an almost daily basis I see drivers violating the speed limit through there. I hope the Alberta Sheriffs will increase their patrols along that stretch of highway and nail the perpetrators.

Finally, at this time of the year where there’s freezing rain, travel at a slower speed to reduce the risk of colliding with another vehicle or going into the ditch.

Safe driving is everybody’s responsibility, not just the other driver’s.


Share this post