I don’t like to use my platform to talk about things that are not digital marketing related, but this is too important, and I need to get this off my chest.
My husband, and the father of my two young children, is a technician that works for an internet company bringing fibre internet to communities in Oxford, Norfolk and Haldimand county (and others). He works in those big vaults on the side of the road that house the fibre internet lines that bring internet to your homes and businesses. Sometimes, these vaults are in town, in your residential communities and sometimes they are on the side of busier roads/highways.
Typically, you can find his work van parked on the side of the road with his safety cones out and his amber flashing lights on, on his van so you can clearly see that he is working there. He is very safety-minded and takes his own safety and the safety of the technicians that work alongside him very seriously. Taking his safety as seriously as he does also protects the community and the other people driving on our roads. It protects YOU and him. He does not put out his safety cones and turn the big flashing lights on, on his work van to ruin your day, I promise you that.
Lately, he has come home with so many stories that make my heart sink, my stomach flip around and make me incredibly nervous when he leaves our house in the morning. He has called me on a couple of occasions, voice shaking because of extremely close calls he has had while working.
These are stories of people driving over his safety cones, getting out of their vehicles and yelling at him for “taking up the road” and being mad at him because they have a safety cone stuck to the underside of their vehicle. Stories of vehicles almost hitting him as he works in, around and beside his van. Stories of drivers that are speeding past his safety-marked work area and laying on their horns as if he is doing something wrong, just by doing his job.
Why is this happening? Why should his life be put at risk because you are running 10 or 15 minutes behind schedule? Why should his life be put at risk because you are having a bad day? Why do you think it is ok to yell at people just because they are doing their job?
It is our job as community members to protect each other and be respectful of the work sites that we pass through. Whether it is a construction zone, a cable/tv/internet technician, a police officer handing out a ticket, EMS helping someone that needs help or even just a kid playing in their front yard, we need to be cognizant of these situations and slow down so these people can make it home to their families at the end of the day. If you need to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road when it comes to roadside workers, you will want to refer to this article which you would have had to read when you got your license in the first place.
Did you know that there are huge fines and penalties for you if you are caught not obeying the "Move Over Law" in Ontario? If it's not convincing enough to slow down to save someone's life, then maybe you will think twice now that you know that you could find yourself with a fine of up to $2000 and three demerit points on your license for your first offence. If you are caught again, your fine could be up to $4000, possibly 6 months of jail time and a possible two-year suspension of your driver's license. Now have I convinced you to slow down?
I know that it is widely said that no one knows the fear of being the family member of a roadside worker until you experience that fear firsthand, but why do our families have to experience it so you can cut 5 minutes off your commute? Why do we have to be terrified of getting “that call” so that you can make it to lunch with your friend or make it to your next delivery or business meeting? Our families should not have to have these fears, but we do.
What is the purpose of this article? Simple. I am pleading with everyone to slow down when you come up to a construction zone or when you see those safety cones and/or lights flashing on vehicles on the side of the road. Give the workers space when it is safe to do so and help us make sure that our friends and family members come home safely every night.
If that’s not enough to convince you to slow down remember this: My daughter is seven. My son is four. The same ages that I and my siblings were when the police officer and preacher showed up at MY front door and told my family that my Dad, a mechanic, had died in a car accident on his way to help a neighbour with his tractor. You can do your part to help make sure that I, and many others, do not have to have that horrible conversation with our children, friends, and family.
Slow down. Watch for the safety cones. Watch for the flashing lights. They are there for a reason. The people working there are someone’s daughter, son, wife, husband, Daddy, Mommy, and friend…we love our family and friends just like you do. We want and need them to come home.