DriveSmart BC – Driving Without Thinking

Fraser Valley – Unless you are the only vehicle on the highway (and one cannot ever be entirely certain of that) you are one piece in a two dimensional puzzle that must fit in with all the other pieces. Put simply, before you do something, you must consider how that will affect you and all the others around you before you do it. If your intended action will negatively impact on someone else, you must not do it. How often do you see the road users around you relying on chance to keep everyone safe?

The example that prompted me to write this occurred in traffic a couple of days ago. It was raining and dark as I drove home from work. The roadway was 3 lanes wide and the right lane that I was using is often almost empty when I approach a red light at the intersection. The driver in the center lane was traveling slightly over the speed limit as he passed by me and noted that my lane was lightly used. If he changed lanes into it he would be a few cars further ahead when the light turned green.

What this driver failed to take into account is that I was following another vehicle at a reasonable distance already. There was room for his vehicle to fit in, so he didn’t hesitate to signal and change lanes. His second error compounded the first as he immediately braked after moving into my lane. I was paying attention, it wasn’t slippery and he didn’t decelerate so quickly that I was beyond the point of no return and could not avoid a collision.

This type of behaviour is a common complaint from drivers of heavy commercial vehicles. It is even more dangerous because of hidden components that you might not consider. Loaded heavy trucks have as little as half of the braking capacity of a light vehicle and will do a lot more damage to you in a collision. Drivers should be well aware of the consequences of entering the No Zone around large commercial vehicles.

Would you be surprised to learn that statistically the driver is the least reliable part of a vehicle? Actions like the incident I’ve related here show that drivers are either unwilling or unable to fully take into account how their choices will affect others. Please, take a few seconds more to follow the see, think, do method outlined in Learn to Drive Smart, our provincial driving manual.

The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca.


Constable Tim Schewe (Retired)

DriveSmartBC: Where better than average drivers satisfy their curiosity.

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