They say there are two seasons in Canada: winter and “construction.”
It’s virtually impossible to avoid road projects during the summer, and it’s the law in Alberta that motorists be extra cautious when driving approaching a construction zone. Alberta, like most other Canadian provinces, has introduced a system of increased fines to deter motorists from moving too quickly when construction workers are present. In Alberta, you could face a fine of up to $949 for speeding through a construction zone when workers are on the job. Getting a ticket may also impact your auto insurance in Calgary. Speeding offences always accumulate on your driving record.
With the return of the warm weather, it’s time to review safe driving practices for construction zones.
Reduce Your Speed
The single most important construction zone safety tip is simple: reduce your speed. Construction zone speed limits are set with two principles in mind. First, they represent the maximum speed you can safely drive at given the road conditions. Second, they safeguard workers, who are at risk of being struck by passing vehicles that are moving too quickly.
Special speed limits are often in effect through a construction zone – definitely if workers are present – and are clearly posted. Slow down significantly for uneven road surfaces. You can easily lose control of your vehicle if you’re going too fast.
Obey Rules and Cooperate
Lane closures can create delays, which can be frustrating. To minimize their negative impact, it’s important to cooperate with other drivers and obey the rules of the road . This will keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible, and that’s in your best interests as well as the best interests of everybody else on the road.
If you come up on a lane closure, move over as early as possible and leave room to allow other drivers to do the same. Don’t try to jump ahead, and don’t cut people off as they try to merge with shifting traffic. This just creates worse congestion and increases your likelihood of getting into an accident.
Check Road Information
By doing a little research ahead of time, you may be able to avoid construction zones altogether by finding alternate routes that will save you time and hassle. First, visit 511alberta.ca for up-to-date, province-wide information. In the Calgary area, you can also follow @yyctransport on Twitter or visit Calgary.ca/trafficinfo.
Using an alternate route helps improve overall road safety by reducing traffic volume and congestion in construction zones, especially if a particular construction project is going to be continuing for an extended period of time. Take a few minutes to plan a different way to get from A to B whenever you can.
What to Do When Emergency Vehicles Approach
As you brush up on your construction zone safety, it’s also a good idea to review what to do when tow trucks and emergency vehicles approach. Here are the basic principles you should always follow:
- Pull over to the right-hand side of the road as soon as you hear an approaching siren or detect flashing lights
- Signal your intention to pull over to other motorists
- Slow down when passing a tow truck or emergency vehicle that’s stopped on the shoulder of the road; on the highway, go no faster than 50 km/h until you clear the stopped vehicle
- Never follow an emergency vehicle for any length of time
- Leave plenty extra following distance behind a tow truck or emergency vehicle
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