EDITORIAL – Obey the Cone Zone; give highway workers a brake

BC Cone Zone campaign asks drivers to slow down and to pay attention to traffic control instructions

Imagine the last words ever heard from your spouse being “I’m off to work; I’ll see you at dinner.”

But instead of seeing your spouse at dinner, an unexpected knock at the door reveals a member of the police, informing you of a tragic accident.

For some – i.e. police and firefighter spouses – it’s a scenario they hope will never happen, but accept that it could; it comes with the territory.

But it should never happen as a result of careless motorists, and that’s the message the BC Cone Zone campaign is trying to get across to motorists.

When coming upon flashing lights of any colour on the road, slow down and move over. It’s the law.

Consider the 70/40 rule: 70km/h when in an 80 km/h or over zone, and 40km/h when in an under 80km/h zone.

Cone zones are work areas set up by roadside workers to protect themselves and the driving public. Road-maintenance crews, tow truck operators, first responders, municipal workers, and other roadside workers all depend on drivers to respect the Cone Zone to keep their workplaces safe.

According to information provided through the campaign, in the 10-year period between 2011-2020, 12 roadside workers were killed and 207 were injured in B.C. Those are 12 deaths that were categorically preventable.

We have the luxury of a wide, divided highway between Nanaimo and Campbell River. When coming across any type of flashing lights on Highway 19 – red, blue or orange – the proper procedure is to pull over to the farthest lane away from the lights.

In the case of single-lane highways, such as 19A, there are two choices – either give a wide berth to the workers, or stop completely, until it is safe to get around them in a manner that will not impede their work, or risk their lives.

Yes, it takes more time, and yes, we are all in a rush; we all want to get home.

So do the ones working on the highway.

Let’s all make sure they arrive home safely.

For more information on the 2021 Cone Zone Campaign, visit conezonebc.com/

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