Slow down, move over: Manitobans reminded to keep roadside workers safe

If you drive with the help of a navigation app, you might see a new set of alerts start to pop up in Manitoba.

CAA Manitoba is partnering with the HAAS Alert system on a new initiative, which will tell drivers if a tow truck or vehicle breakdown is up ahead.

Ewald Friesen, CAA’s manager of government and community relations, told Global Winnipeg that across North America, almost 100 tow truck drivers are killed each year by passing motorists — with an innumerable number of close calls.

Many motorists, he said, still haven’t learned to slow down and move over when they see tow trucks or emergency vehicles on the side of the road, despite laws on the books in the province for over a decade.

“It’s particularly troublesome, given that we do have laws in Manitoba regarding ‘slow down and move over,’ and many of them sadly are still not necessarily adhered to,” Friesen said.

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“Springtime hits, summertime hits, and we see increased traffic and there’s a lot of people in a hurry. If there’s an emergency out there on the road and you’re a tow truck driver, this is in fact your office — this is your workspace.

“Slowing down and moving over to the left lane will do a tremendous amount to ensure their safety.”

Click to play video: 'Moving Over for Emergency Vehicles'

Moving Over for Emergency Vehicles

Rob Flood of Ti-Cat Towing told 680 CJOB’s The Jim Toth Show that slowing down and moving over is a simple rule that should be followed by drivers in every situation — whether it’s a tow truck, an emergency vehicle, construction equipment or even a family going on a trip that needs to pull over for any reason.

“It definitely has its moments there, where I have a job to do, and I can’t move a 5,000-pound vehicle out of the way, but I have to get in there and do my job,” Flood said.

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“When you’re worried about somebody who is maybe a distracted driver or maybe they’re having a bit of a bad day, and they’re not concentrating 100 per cent … (think about) how close they are when we’re at the side of the road.”

Flood said he’s had a number of close calls himself, including a near-miss in a snowstorm and an incident on Route 90 where he was clipped by a truck speeding by.

“I was slammed to the ground with a force I’ve never felt before,” he said. “The wind’s knocked out of me, I’m rolling around to see what’s happened.

“I didn’t have any broken bones, but I had a bruise of a Ford F-150 mirror in my back for a few weeks after. That’s how close the truck got to me.

“There are some great people that actually do slow down and move over, but there are some other ones that sometimes … I don’t know what they’re thinking.”

Click to play video: 'Manitobans warned to slow down past emergency scenes on highways'

Manitobans warned to slow down past emergency scenes on highways

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