A Quick Survey of Considerate Drivers
Stopping on the shoulder for lunch isn’t something I’d normally do, but after my truck threw its cooling fan into the radiator, I didn’t have much choice. I was stranded beside three lanes of fast moving traffic.
The tractor wasn’t going anywhere unless it was on a hook, but our mobile mechanic was dispatched to assess the damage anyway. With warning triangles dutifully placed behind the truck and four-ways switched on, lunch was served.
As the cab rocked from side to side in the wind blast caused by passing traffic, it occurred to me just how important Ontario’s move over law is for the men and women that have to regularly work on the shoulder. Those brave souls take their life in their hands every time they step out of their vehicle.
According to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA Reg.159) on roads with two or more lanes, if there is a stopped emergency vehicle on the shoulder, drivers are required to move over if it is safe to do so.
For emergency vehicles, don’t just think Police, Fire and Ambulance either. The HTA definition also includes public utility emergency vehicles, ministry officials, conservation, fishery, Provincial Park and mine rescue officers. The list goes on. But in short, any government employee, who in the course of their daily duties has to work on the side of the road, is protected.
As this law doesn’t cover drivers of broken down trucks and cars, out of curiosity, I decided to conduct a short survey to see how many passing professionals were courteous and considerate towards a fellow driver.
With pen and paper in hand, I sat and observed vehicles as they came into view in the mirror to see just how many would move over. I didn’t include the drivers who couldn’t change lanes due to traffic volume, or those ‘Kings of the Road’ that insisted on staying in the middle lane.
Even though this research wasn’t exactly scientific, the results of my ten minute survey speak for themselves:
TRUCK TYPE MOVED OVER DIDN’T MOVE
Highway tractor trailer 8 2
Day cab tractor trailer 3 4
Straight dump truck 1 10
Regular straight truck 2 4
Bus 0 2
You can see from this snapshot that the high milers are generally more considerate than the local drivers; however, the biggest surprise was the school bus and transit bus that were both full of passengers and didn’t move an inch.
It may not be law to move over if you spot a car or truck stopped on the shoulder, but it is definitely safe, courteous and considerate. What if the driver of that stopped vehicle was a friend or family member? Bet you’d want everyone to move over then.