Drivers urged to slow down when passing emergency vehicles

CAA Saskatchewan is urging Saskatchewan drivers to “Slow to 60 km/hour on Saskatchewan highways when passing emergency vehicles”, which includes tow trucks.
The rules of the road are clear: Drivers must slow to 60 kilometres per hour on Saskatchewan highways when passing a working tow truck with its safety lights flashing. Unfortunately, many motorists including transport drivers, do not obey this law and often speed by tow truck operators who are working on the highways, helping other motorists in need. Many of the tow truck operators working for CAA Saskatchewan have expressed concern for their own personal safety.
The Saskatchewan government is considering new legislation to allow tow trucks to be outfitted with lights that flash amber and red. These signals are instantly recognizable and are more attention-grabbing then the amber lights now in use. According to tow truck operator Doug Steppler and owner of Bear’s Towing in Moose Jaw, “Better driver education is even more essential.”
Explaining a recent incident involving once of his drivers, he said, “Just last week, one of my operators was on Highway 1 near Belle Plaine and had parked the tow truck safely away from traffic, and was preparing to assist the stranded motorist. He had the pylons marked on the highway to identify his presence and had the amber lights flashing on the tow truck. Unfortunately, this was all totally ignored by a transport driver who literally flew by at a high speed, and drove over the pylons, and probably still has one stuck in his truck’s front grill. My tow truck operator literally had to run out of harm’s way to avoid being hit. Fortunately, he was not hurt, but this incident was a close call for my tow truck operator and for me. This is only one of several similar incidents that have happened to my staff or myself.”
“Motorists, please slow down and move over. We all need to do our part to make the roadside a safe place to work,” added Steppler.
Drivers should treat a tow truck like any other emergency vehicle. After checking their mirrors, drivers should slow down and move over, changing lanes if possible.
While Saskatchewan law requires motorists to slow down to 60 km/hour when passing a working tow truck with its safety lights flashing, drivers should further reduce their speed in poor weather conditions. Drivers who have a breakdown should also take a few precautions: Try to get your vehicle as far off the road as possible and turn on your four-way flashers.
The ditch or fence line are the safest places to wait for a tow. If weather conditions force a driver to wait inside their vehicle, avoid sitting in the back or driver’s seat, where it is more likely to be seriously harmed if another driver smashes into the car. On double-lane highways, motorists should also try to move to the far lane to give tow truck operators room to work safely.

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