It's night and I'm driving into the gray cotton of fog caused by a lingering temperature inversion. Vision is limited, the roads are wet, it's just a few degrees above freezing and some of the traffic to my left is driving like it's a sunny afternoon in August. As they whoosh by me nose to tail at speeds exceeding the posted limit I marvel at what I imagine is their ability to see so much better than I can. I also admire their ability to anticipate and use quick reflexes to get themselves out of trouble if something unexpected happens ahead.
It's not nice to take vicarious pleasure from the troubles of other drivers, but sometimes I can't help myself. Yesterday I found myself #3 in line waiting for a red light to turn green at an intersection. The vehicle in front of me was a shiny Porsche Boxster convertible driven by a mature male. The light turned green and he stalled it. By the time he had started it again the light had turned red and we all ended up waiting for the next cycle.
Over my lifetime so far, I've gone from a child who rode on a foam mattress in the back of our family station wagon on summer road trips to a grandfather who would not dream of driving anywhere without grand daughters safely buckled up in proper child restraints. Needless to say, wearing my own seatbelt has become a reflex action. I'm uncomfortable if I don't wear it and don't notice it when I do.
That said, it is still not uncommon to find people who are unbelted, even though B.C. has had mandatory seatbelt use rules since October 1977.
I am blessed with a steady stream of questions that arrive from visitors to the DriveSmartBC web site. Whenever I am short on ideas to base my weekly article on I can count on someone to make a suggestion. This week the operative word is short, and I'm going to deal with questions that haven't developed into a full article but deserve a response.
I watched a woman run a stop sign the other day while I was out for a walk. I knew that this was a route that she traveled often and she should be familiar with stopping there. I could see that she was checking around her as she approached the T intersection so I'm going to assume that she was in a hurry and made the conscious decision to slow down instead of stop.
Sometimes when I read articles on road safety I come across one that really resonates with me. A story from 2008 written by Paul Hergott titled Drivers Need to Smarten Up When Out on the Road is one of them. Paul starts off by saying "We’ve got ourselves a serious attitude problem. We see driving as a right."
Very little has changed since then except perhaps that this attitude is becoming even more prevalent on our roads in 2017.
Our provincial driving manual Learn to Drive Smart devotes an entire chapter to the concept of See - Think - Do Method. See: The pedestrian waiting to cross the street in the intersection. Think: There are no lines painted on the pavement, but it is an unmarked crosswalk and I have to stop for the pedestrian. Do: Yield the right of way to the pedestrian and allow them to cross the street.
In a perfect world, drivers would have no hesitation in stopping for pedestrians, pedestrians would use a crosswalk properly and the authorities would construct roads to facilitate both.
I'm not a lawyer reads the e-mail, I'm a grandfather but I want to be able to help my grandson dispute a traffic ticket. At his first appearance on this ticket the presiding justice refused to let me participate telling me that my grandson was old enough to do it himself. There wasn't enough time to get to his hearing that day so I want to try again. How do I get the court's permission to do this?
A signal light does not provide you with any protection when you make a left turn. This simple fact was discovered by a lady who slowed as she approached her driveway, signalled for a left turn, saw a truck approaching in her rearview mirror and started to make the turn. To her complete surprise, the truck passed by her on the left and they collided corner to corner.
Have you ever wondered about the instruments that the police use to measure vehicle speeds on our highways? My favourite tool was the laser because it gave me the ability to accurately measure the speeds of individual vehicles even when they were in a group on a busy highway. Although the laser had to be used from a stationary position, either hand held or on a tripod, I was willing to trade my moving radar for it when I worked on busy multi-lane highways.