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What a Flagger Does for a Living ... and Dies for

Posted 03-07-09 at 06:17 PM by RedHairedWitch
What a Flagger Does for a Living ... and Dies for

(I wrote this one years ago, but I still bring it out every spring when the roads open up and the construction season begins)

My mother is a Traffic Control Person, also known as a flagger. You know, one of those people in the orange or yellow vest who stop you at construction sites.
Many people hate to see a flagger with a stop or slow sign in their hand step in front of their vehicle. After all, you don’t want to be 2 minutes late to get wherever you are going. Its such a pain in the butt to have to wait a few minutes, or to slow down when travelling through a construction zone. Many people tell my Mother that her job could be replaced by a bucket of sand, just stick the sign in that, who needs some person telling them how to drive?

The purpose of my Mothers job is very clear to her, even if you may not understand it. Her job is to protect the lives of everyone working in and driving through a construction zone.
Her job is to stop you from driving into a sinkhole, or from driving into a dump truck; its to keep you from going into head-on traffic when there are lanes closed.

Did you know that when a road is closed off, many crews will dump the load of gravel or dirt from the dump truck right in the middle of the road? Or that they will park heavy equipment in the middle of the hiway? When traffic is stopped, they know it only takes a minute or two to move it, so they leave it there, to make their jobs easier. So, what happens when you blow past that stop sign and drive right into a pile of dirt, or a giant backhoe? You just might die; you just might kill somebody else.

What happens when you speed through a construction zone? You put the lives of everyone around you at risk. People’s loved ones work here.

Did you know that firemen and police officers have been killed by people speeding past a parked fire truck or police cruiser with flashing lights and everything going?

In some States and Provinces, a flagger can make pretty darn good money. Not in my Province though, my Mom makes 11 dollars an hour to step in front of moving vehicles.

Flaggers work long hours, often 12 or more.
They rarely get lunch or even potty breaks.

They stand out in all kinds of weather, including below freezing conditions, or extreme summer heat.

All day long, they get to listen to people yell at them, call them awful names and threaten them just for trying to keep those people safe.

My Moms job is to keep you safe and alive, but many people call her terrible names for this. They flip her the bird, they throw objects, like beer bottles, at her from their cars. There has even been a few times where angry men have gotten out of their cars, intent on attacking my mother because they didnt want to wait any longer. My Mom is 50+ years old, she is 5 feet 3 inches and weighs 120 pounds soaking wet, thank the Gods for the guy on the work crews who have saved her from attack every time!

I don’t care if they’re making 25 dollars an hour; these people risk their lives everyday to make sure you get home safely and to make sure the guys working the construction zone get home too. There is not enough money in the world to justify losing my Mom to a drunk driver or speeding a**hole.

I know, I know. Obviously these people are horrid, uneducated blue collar slobs who can‘t even get a real job. They MUST be drunks or something to wind up working construction. Somebody has to do that job, would you prefer a lottery? Maybe you’d be cleaning my toilets next week.

A few years ago I was especially relieved that my Mom had taken a few days off .
On March 2006, at about 11:40 pm, a speeding Camero came roaring through a construction site on the hiway in my hometown.
The driver swerved around another vehicle, clipping marker pylons before swinging back and ploughing into a parked vehicle and the flagger.
The flagger was standing beside her work truck when he hit her.
She was squished between the two vehicles before being thrown across the hiway.

The car then slammed into a dump truck and a backhoe working on the crossing of Highway 97 and Highway 33.

The flag person was pronounced dead at the scene.

The flagger was a friend and co-worker of my Moms. She was 43 years old and her name was Theresa. She was a single mother of a teenaged daughter, who now has no family at all. Imagine waking up to hear the news that some drunk driver killed your Mom.

And don’t kill my Mom too.

Thanks, Juniper
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