One way to prevent tragedies from occurring on the side of the road is by giving emergency personnel, tow-truck operators, highway workers and anyone else plenty of space when passing. It only takes a split second of inattention to affect the lives of many people.
The week of April 11-15 is National Work Zone Awareness week. The CHP would like to remind you to move over.
The “Move Over, Slow Down” law went into effect in California on Jan. 1, 2007. Vehicle Code section 21809 (a) states that “a person driving a vehicle on a freeway approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, a stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or a stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, shall approach with due caution and, before passing in a lane immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, absent other direction by a peace officer, proceed to do one of the following: (1) Make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, if practicable and not prohibited by law. (2) If the maneuver described in paragraph (1) would be unsafe or impracticable, slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.”
A frequently asked question by the motoring public is, “Why do you close off three lanes of traffic, when the work is only being done in one lane?” In many cases it is not feasible or safe to conduct work operations within the limits of a single lane. Maintaining traffic directly adjacent to a work operation, separated only by a lane stripe, is extremely hazardous for both drivers and workers. Longer-term projects may use temporary concrete barriers to separate traffic from the work zone.
The typical practice is to close the minimum number of lanes to safely and effectively pursue the work. Also, lane closures are analyzed for traffic-delay impacts and every effort is made to minimize traffic impacts as much as possible.
The CHP and Caltrans want all of you to give the highway workers a break. We want everybody traveling and those working in the construction zones to return home safely to their families. Please obey the posted speed limit in the work zones. Stay alert and expect the unexpected. You never know when workers will be moving within the work zone. Do not change lanes unnecessarily. Remember, where your eyes go, the car can go.
Be courteous; turn on your headlights so workers and other drivers can see you. Be especially alert at night driving through work zones. Expect delays especially during commute times. Allow space between you and the car in front of you.
Please, do not use your mobile phone anytime you are driving. Most importantly, the lives of many people are at stake while you are driving through these construction zones; be patient!
“The safety of the people shall be the highest law.”