A day in the life of a road repair flagger

You’ll slow down for a speed bump, but you won’t slow down for my life.

To the editor:

You’ll slow down for a speed bump, but you won’t slow down for my life. Since September, all the children have been back in school for quite some time and we slow down to 30 km/h, except, of course, the parents speeding to get their children there in time.

I still, and always will, try to figure out Kelowna drivers—we can’t even blame the Albertans anymore. Walk 24 hours with me in my steel-toed boots with my sign because I am a traffic control person, and I’ll show and tell you about Kelowna drivers.

Maybe Bill McKinnon (Kelowna RCMP superintendent), or a few of his members should hang out in a work zone, without a car, wearing safety green with a sign and see how many tickets they would hand out. Seriously, take a picture.

First, let’s teach drivers how to read the sign “slow.” Going 60 or 70 km/h when the sign reads slow is frightening for us, and double the fine for you, the driver.

Have we not yet figured out talking on a hand-held device is illegal? And you texters, holy-cow! I bet you’re seriously paying attention.

And then there’s the guy eating his bowl of Cheerios in early morning rush hour. He must be really busy.

But I saved the best for last. Working on the Coquihalla Highway at Trepanier Creek Bridge, with the big wind-master signs, the delineators, the taper, and the light board sign on the truck indicating a lane change, it still wasn’t enough warning for a white sports car to come racing at me at 130 km/h. I had to jump out of the way, landing on my knees, and had to find God immediately. I would’ve gone down 100 feet into the creek—we call that our escape route.

Once in a lifetime experience you’d think, but oh no! It happened again.

Seriously folks, slow down! We don’t put those signs up just to give ourselves something to do. They’re placed there for your safety, the crews’ safety, for turning of heavy equipment, big trucks, etc.

Then there is my safety—the flagger. The peon, who is standing—or as I prefer, to dance and smile—guiding you through the work zone safely. Oh my God, we get all the dirty looks when we must stop traffic for just one minute. We have solely ruined your day, heaven help a longer closure.

When people actually drive around the cones and directly into oncoming traffic, or into a coned off area, that means htere’s nobody in there but us. It’s worksafe and WCB.

So, at the end of a beautiful sunny day, my partner and I pick up all our equipment and signs and drive home safely, because we also have families to go home to.

Let’s add insult to injury. My husband is a truck driver. By the time we get home and vent, and re-vent our day, we are thoroughly exhausted. But we get out there the next day and do it all again, rain or shine.

I want to give so much thanks to many of the Kelowna drivers who understand and comply with the rules of the road, always with a smile, or a wave, a sometimes a coffee when it’s cold, or a freezie when it’s hot.

Regardless of this, I love my job, being outside and working with great crews in great companies that always take care of us.

“Always be safe out there” is what we say everyday. This is my attempt to remind Kelowna drivers to please slow down or you may start to get tickets. What I just said, was free.

P.S. Please don’t leave my children motherless because you’re in a hurry.

Elaine Staton,

Kelowna

 

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