Slow Down, Move Over, Unintended Consequences
With the amendment last month of B.C.'s Slow Down, Move Over law comes the unintended consequences of the misuse of flashing lights. Since yesterday afternoon I've driven past two situations that the law required me to slow down and move over for that had nothing to do with protecting workers on or beside the highway. Unless the operators of vehicles equipped with flashing lights exercise some common sense the law may have to be amended again to deal with misuse.
The first situation involved a flat deck truck driver who parked on the shoulder, turned on his flashing yellow lights and ran across the highway to a service station and convenience store. If passing traffic needed to be warned, four way hazard flashers would have been a better choice. Taking this thought one step further, if passing traffic needed to be warned, this driver should have found a safer place to park before making his convenience store run.
The second incident was a worker whose vehicle was stopped a couple of vehicle widths to the right of the paved shoulder. The yellow light on the roof flashed as he worked in an electrical box that controlled the weigh scale directional sign even further off of the highway. Unless there was something else being done that I could not see, this worker and his vehicle were at no risk from passing traffic and the yellow flashing light should not have been used.
I know what working at the roadside is like and I am happy to slow down and move over for those situations that need it. Experience has also shown me that many drivers routinely ignore flashing lights. If they are to be meaningful and disobedience successfully enforced, flashing light users should carefully consider the need before flipping the switch to turn them on.