“Slow down and move over.”
That seemed to be the number one message for the driving public to come out of a winter roads awareness meeting held last week in the Argo yard in Clearwater.
The meeting is an annual affair so the various agencies involved with road maintenance and safety can tell each other about their plans as they prepare for winter.
Attending were about 20 representatives from Argo, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, RCMP, District of Clearwater, Borrow Enterprises, Clearwater Fire Department, towing companies, flagging companies, and so on.
According to the RCMP in B.C. website, motorists are required to slow down and move over for all vehicles stopped alongside the road that have flashing red, blue or yellow lights.
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.
On undivided highways, this applies to motorists approaching the parked vehicle from either direction. If the vehicle is stopped on the driver’s side of the road, and there is another lane going in the same direction, drivers must move into that lane, if it is safe to do so.
Where the speed limit is 80 km/h or higher, drivers must slow to 70 km/h, if they approach a vehicle stopped at the roadside with its lights flashing, Where the limit is below 80 km/h, drivers must reduce their speed to 40 km/h (hint: think of it as the 70/40 rule).
Other tips for drivers included slow down for road conditions, be prepared for winter, and check the DriveBC website for information before setting out.
Other information exchanged during the meeting was mostly regarding procedures the different agencies plan to use during the upcoming snowy season.
For example, there was agreement that, if it is snowing heavily and all victims or other occupants have been removed, it is best to leave vehicles that have gone off the road where they are until it stops snowing.
Attempting to recover a vehicle from off the road with a tow truck during a snowstorm can be extremely dangerous, especially at night.
Cpl. Mark Labossiere of Clearwater RCMP traffic services reminded those present that they should carry “All Clear” ribbon to mark any vehicles that have been checked so the police don’t get multiple calls to go to the same accident scene.
Labossiere also noted that the local detachment will be doing roadchecks after Hallowe’en to make sure people are using snow tires.
A new bus looping service connecting Clearwater and Blackpool should reduce the number of vehicles on the road, said Mayor John Harwood.
Harvey Nelson, general manager for Argo in Kamloops, encouraged people to use the road maintenance contractor’s contact number to report any problem that might hazardous to other drivers. The number is 1-800-661-2025.