Starting Sept. 1, Albertans in the lane closest to a vehicle with flashing lights, such as a police car, ambulance, tow truck, maintenance worker or snow plow, are required to slow down to 60 km/h or move over to a lane further away if you are able to do so.
Essentially the rule is: if you see flashing lights, slow down and move over.
Failure to slow down to 60 km/hr (or the posted speed limit if it is lower) can result in a $243 fine and three demerit points on your licence. If you are going more than 60 km/hr, a speeding ticket can be added on top of that. Standard speeding fines are doubled when workers or emergency vehicles are present, which means that instead of a $110 fine for going 10 km/hr over the limit (or 70 km/hr), you will be dinged with a $220 ticket.
Don’t forget that tickets and traffic violations can negatively impact your car insurance premiums. Depending on your insurance provider, you may see an increase of up to 25% on your car insurance premiums for such an infraction … potentially more depending on your driving history and how many demerit points you have on your licence. Being courteous to police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and maintenance workers isn’t just better for your financial bottom line; it’s also common courtesy and an essential part of being a good citizen.
Drivers will be notified of the need to slow down to 60 km/hr in the following ways:
- In areas where construction and maintenance is being carried out, roadway signs will be posted to let drivers know of the need to check their speed. Even if no signs are present, drivers must still slow down.
- If you see flashing lights of any kind, a 60 km/hr speed limit is in effect.
- Follow the directions of flag workers and those controlling traffic.
Don’t focus on what is happening next to you and concentrate on the road ahead of you. It’s possible vehicles may be exiting the site and you will need to make room. Leave plenty of space in front of you to allow for quick stops. Move to a lane further away from the work site or accident if possible.
Albertans can plan ahead by going to 511 Alberta for up-to-date road information, including traffic delays and road construction.
Changes to how to respond to snow plows
Snow plows are included in the modifications to the Traffic Safety Act. Starting Sept. 1, drivers must not pass a snow plow if:
- You are unable to see past the side of the snow plow.
- If you pass the snow plow it will be unable to operate properly.
- It is simply not safe to do so.
Failure to comply may result in a $324 fine and three demerits on your licence. Again, if you are going over the speed limit, a speeding ticket may also be issued.
Encountering emergency vehicles on the road
Responding properly to emergency vehicles and roadside workers is not only the law – it could be a matter of life and death. Your fellow citizens are depending on you to react accordingly.
The rules for encountering emergency vehicles such as ambulances and police cars that are trying to reach their destination quickly are slightly different than those for vehicles with flashing lights at the side of the road. If any vehicle is emitting a siren, you must provide the right of way. The City of Calgary offers comprehensive resources on how to properly share the road with emergency vehicles, which detail what to do when lights and sirens are coming up behind you.
- Pull over to the closest curb and stop your car until the emergency vehicle has passed.
- On most roads with a yellow line as a divider and with traffic moving in both directions, drivers should pull to the right and stop.
- On one-way streets or streets divided by a median, drivers should move left or right to the nearest curb.
- At a red light, drivers should slowly and cautiously pull into the intersection in the direction of traffic.
- You may only proceed once the vehicle has passed.
Discover the Lane’s advantage
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