Slow Down Move Over
Promoting safe driving near tow trucks and first responder vehicles including law enforcement, ambulances, and fire trucks.
May 11, 2021 is Slow Down Move Over Day!
If you’ve ever had to pull over on a Saskatchewan roadway, you know how nerve-wracking it can be. Even if you’re far over on the shoulder—even if your hazard lights are on—other vehicles often whip past, mere metres from where you stand. In other words, you’re vulnerable. So, too, is the tow truck operator who responds to calls for roadside assistance, and other first responders helping motorists in need.
“We really depend on the motoring public to help keep us safe—by slowing to 60 km/h on highways—when passing us at work,” says Brad Stratychuk, president of the
Roadside Responders Association of Saskatchewan. “It really is a matter of life and death.”
Across Canada, there are more than 7,500 tow truck operators employed by or contracted to provincial CAA clubs. Each one receives ongoing training, plus equipment like reflective pylons and high-visibility clothing, to ensure that they—and the members they’re helping—stay as safe as possible at the roadside.
Even then, some motorists don’t heed the warnings. Tragically, a tow truck operator near Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, was struck and killed in 2017 while working during a blizzard. In November 2019, an Oshawa tow truck driver was killed while assisting a motorist on a highway near Durham, Ontario. This past January, a tow truck operator was involved in a serious collision while working on a highway near North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries.
In Saskatchewan, you must slow to 60 km/h when passing emergency and service vehicles parked at the side of the road with their lights flashing. This includes tow trucks, tire service vehicles, police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, highway workers and snowplows. Drivers who don’t follow the law could face fines.
The addition of blue lights to tow trucks has increased visibility on Saskatchewan highways. “We worked with key safety stakeholders to lobby the Government of Saskatchewan for new legislation allowing tow trucks to display blue lights in addition to amber lights when assisting motorists,” says Scott McIntyre, CAA Saskatchewan’s vice-president of automotive services. In April 2017, Saskatchewan became the first province to permit this additional safety precaution.
While the exact number of collisions involving tow trucks is unknown, data from CAA National indicate that each year in North America, dozens of tow operators are killed while doing their jobs. Each one of these deaths is entirely preventable: Slow down, move over!
It only takes a second to be distracted.
#UnplugAndDrive is the theme behind CAA’s new youth-based video campaign. And the message is clear: if you’re driving, put your phone away. Gen Z is a socially conscious generation and almost all of them know that distracted driving is wrong, yet 1 in 6 young Canadians still have admitted to driving distracted.
People don’t think they’re distracted drivers because they aren’t “texting”. But today, distracted driving is so much more than sending a text. Music apps, maps, messaging apps and social media are all frequently used while driving and pose the same threat as calling or texting.
Here are a few surprising distracted driving statistics:
- Over a quarter of young Canadians aged 18-24 years old said they saw an increase in people using their phone while driving in 2020. (CAA polling, 2020)
- 47% of Canadians admitted that they have typed out or used the voice-memo feature to send a message while driving. (CAA, 2020)
- If a driver texts, they’re 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near collision. (Traffic Injury Research Foundation, 2019)
- Canadians say that texting while driving is one of the biggest threats to their personal safety on the road. (CAA, 2018)
Let’s eliminate distracted driving. Learn more
Watch the videos below.
Safe Driving Tips
Vehicle Check List
Spring is the perfect time to explore Saskatchewan! Before hitting the road, show your car some TLC. A few simple steps can help ensure a smooth ride.
Inspect your tires
Check the wear bars, the little rubber mounds in the tire’s track. To find the recommended tire pressure for your car, check your owner’s manual or look for a sticker inside the driver’s door.
Eyeball the oil
Wait until your car has been off for about 10 minutes. Pull out the dipstick, clean it off with a paper towel, and then reinsert it back into the cradle. After a few seconds pull it back out. The oil level should fall between the two markings or holes. It should appear light brown and viscous.
Check your lights
Walk around the vehicle and check that your front, tail, and reverse lights are working, along with your turn signals. Check your high beams, too, and fog lights if your car has them.
Enjoy the view
To check washer fluid—and top it up if needed—locate your washer fluid reservoir, which will have a diagram of a windshield and what looks like a dotted umbrella.
Did you hear something?
A major problem is often preceded by a noise, like a squeak or bang. If you hear something like that, report it to your mechanic immediately. And if you notice an unusual smell, talk with your technician. A small tune-up can go a long way on the open road!
Driver Safety Check List
- Properly install children’s car and booster seats.
- All passengers including the driver must wear seatbelts.
- Carry a fully charged mobile phone and a charger should you need to call for help. CAA Roadside Assistance is available 24/7 for Members by calling 1-800-222-4357 or use the CAA mobile app.
- Eliminate distracted driving. Do not use mobile phones for calls, texting, emails, maps, etc., while driving. #UnplugAndDrive
- Slow to 60 km/h on Saskatchewan highways for working tow truck operators and first responders assisting motorists in need. Slow down and move over.
- Pack a roadside assistance kit and include a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, tire pressure gauge, pliers, adjustable wrench, blanket, or purchase a roadside assistance kit at your local CAA Store.
Once upon a time, a dim instrument panel reminded motorists that their headlights weren’t engaged. But in most new vehicles, the panel is backlit anytime the engine is running. This leads some motorists to assume their daytime running lights (DRL) are also on. Problem is, in many vehicles, DRL doesn’t include rear illumination. “Before sunrise, after sunset and in bad weather, you get what are known as phantom vehicles,” says Christine Niemczyk, CAA Saskatchewan’s director of corporate communications and public relations. These are cars that are virtually invisible from behind because their rear lights aren’t on. “It’s a pet peeve for many drivers. And it’s a safety issue due to the visibility risks.” Transport Canada has acknowledged it receives a high number of concerned letters about phantom vehicles—and is now taking steps to address those concerns. As of 2021, all new cars sold in Canada will be required to be more visible in low-light conditions, by having one of three features:
- Daytime running lights and taillights that turn on when the instrument panel is illuminated, and the vehicle is in operation;
- Headlights, taillights, and side marker lights that automatically turn on in low-light conditions;
- An instrument panel that remains dark until the driver manually turns on all the lights.
This isn’t the first time Canada has led the way with regard to vehicle lighting standards. In 1989, we were the first country to require automatic DRL on all new vehicles, buoyed by research showing that it could reduce crash incidence by up to 15 percent during the day.
The irony is that DRL—designed to improve visibility—can inadvertently put drivers at risk, if they believe their full lighting system is engaged by default. “It also impacts motorists following you. If they can’t see your taillights, it decreases their reaction time to brake or avoid a rear-end collision,” Niemczyk says. To increase awareness about phantom vehicles, CAA partnered with Transport Canada on the See and Be Seen campaign, launched in 2018. So how can you ensure your car is lit? Many vehicles have an “auto” option whereby sensors gauge ambient light to switch between DRL and a fully engaged headlight system; just make sure that setting is on. Look for an “A,” “Auto” or the DRL symbol on your light dial. For cars lacking an automatic option, keeping your headlights on when driving is the safest bet.
CAA supports keeping seniors driving for as long as safely possible through a variety of initiatives:
- The Canadian Automobile Association used decades of experience in road safety, along with expert assistance from the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, to design a toolkit for seniors and their loved ones. Use the toolkit to assess fitness to drive under different conditions, stay safe behind the wheel, maintain driving confidence as you age, and take concrete steps to modify driving habits if needed. Learn More
- CarFit, an educational program for senior drivers, provides a quick, yet comprehensive review of how well you and your vehicle work together. Personal mobility is critical for healthy aging, but ill-fitting vehicles can make it uncomfortable and unsafe to drive. Today’s vehicles have many features that offer enhanced restraints and protection, yet many drivers are unaware of those features or how to use them properly. CarFit helps to identify how the fit of your vehicle can affect your driving and how minor adjustments and adaptations can assist your changing needs. CarFit is free of charge for CAA members and the public. Learn more
- 55 Alive Mature Drivers Program offered by Saskatchewan Safety Council. Contact the Saskatchewan Safety Council for more information.
CAA recognizes the critical requirement for young drivers to start their driving careers off on the right foot. CAA offers new drivers and their parents, useful reminders, tips, questions and do’s and don’ts that parents and new drivers can refer to throughout the learning-to-drive process. Learn More