FRIENDLY REMINDER: if you see first responders, utility crews, or other emergency personnel on the side of the road, please SLOW DOWN or move over when possible.
Every year, workers along the sides of roads are injured or killed when a car crashes into the crew’s site, even though it’s marked with bright cones and warning signs.
There’s an easy way to reduce those incidents that harm police officers and other first responders, road construction workers, and utility crews. There’s a slogan to help remind drivers. There’s even a law. The slogan is “slow down or move over.” It’s good advice and a decent thing to do to keep people safe. It’s also a requirement in all 50 states.
Electric utility crews are special cases to watch out for. A study of utility worksite accidents found that the relatively temporary nature of power line repairs could surprise motorists. A roadside construction operation might close a lane for days or weeks, giving time for people familiar with the area to anticipate the changed traffic pattern. Utility work, however, can start and finish in a few hours, possibly raising risks with drivers who might think they know the road ahead.
Another risk to watch for is when worksites are being put up or taken down. Roadside accidents can happen as crews are setting up signs and traffic cones.
Don’t drive distracted. Drive according to the conditions of the road. Be courteous to roadside work crews. Watch the signs and obey them. And certainly, follow laws like Move Over or Slow Down. It’s good advice that could save a life.