–Occasional Driving Column on SPN
On January 1, 2015, traffic regulations changed for how motorists have to interact with “official” vehicles stopped on BC roads. This was the new “Slow Down and Move Over” regulation.
This include vehicles that have flashing red, blue or yellow lights. Besides emergency vehicles, the list now also includes garbage removal, snow removal, animal control workers, land surveyors and so on. As per the BC RCMP:
“This change under the Motor Vehicle Act provides maintenance workers, utility workers, land surveyors, animal control workers and garbage collectors with greater protection from accident and injury. These workers are now included in Slow Down, Move Over legislation in the BC Motor Vehicle Act, which also protects the operators of emergency and enforcement vehicles and tow trucks.
“Drivers must decrease their speed when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle when it is on or beside a roadway and has its lights flashing. Further, if there are two lanes going in the same direction, drivers must move into the inside lane to pass, if it is safe to do so and a police officer has not directed them to do otherwise. This gives emergency workers as much space as possible to complete their duties.”
The rules for yielding for an emergency vehicle (with red lights on and sirens sounding) remain the same as they have always been: You must pull over and stop. As per DriveSmartBC:
“When an emergency vehicle approaches that is showing a flashing red light and sounding a siren you must immediately drive to a position parallel to the nearest edge of the road that is clear of an intersection and stop. You must remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed by. It does not matter which direction the emergency vehicle is approaching from.
“For all highways except a divided highway, the nearest edge is to the driver’s right. On a divided highway, if you are in the left hand or fast lane, the nearest edge is to the left. Otherwise, it is to the right as well. In any case, use your signal lights so the driver of the emergency vehicle knows where you are going!”
The Slow-Down-and-Move-Over regulation is to keep everyone safe, including personnel whose job requires them to step outside of their vehicle in the middle of busy traffic.
The yield-to-emergency-workers mandated stop allows critical personnel to attend to someone who is having a waaaaay worse day than you.
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