Vernon Fire Rescue Services is reminding the public of the importance of slowing down and taking extra care when passing emergency scenes on the road, particularly during the winter season when road conditions can change quickly due to colder temperatures, snow, or ice.
“Safety is our top priority; that includes the safety of all emergency responders, the individuals who we’re assisting, and those who are passing by an emergency scene,” said Vernon Deputy Fire Chief Alan Hofsink.
“On a regular basis, emergency responders and service providers find themselves at motor vehicle incidents with heavy traffic continuing to flow past the scene. Sometimes, drivers fail to slow down, or choose to maneuver around a scene unsafely – such as passing emergency vehicles on the shoulder. Actions like these can put many people in unnecessary danger.”
Travelers are reminded that in British Columbia, motorists are required to slow down and move over for all vehicles stopped alongside the road that have flashing lights. This includes police, fire, ambulance, tow trucks and other roadside workers, maintenance workers, and utility workers.
Motorists must slow their speed to:
• 70km/h when in a zone 80km/h or more;
• 40km/h when in a zone less than 80km/h.
However, motorists are also reminded to travel to road conditions, which may mean driving even slower if passing an emergency scene during poor road conditions or where there may be reduced travel lanes.
“We want everyone who responds to a roadside incident to return from that scene safe and sound – and for no one else to be put at risk for injury,” said Hofsink. “Therefore, we can’t thank the public enough for slowing down, being cautious, and doing their part to keep themselves, our responders, and everyone else safe on the road.”