We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Another visit into the reader mailbag

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, June 15th 2018

Pedestrians should get off their cellphones when crossing streets, a reader suggests, noting that drivers should not bear responsibility for distracted walkers.


More questions and comments from readers:

Several readers asked about the appropriate distance one should leave behind the vehicle ahead, when stopped at a traffic light.
The pat answer is at least enough space to see the tires of the vehicle ahead meet the road surface.
This is a standard answer. When traffic volume is very high, it is acceptable for drivers to squeeze together, to allow those behind to clear the intersection.

Hoping to avoid gridlock, it is best not to enter an intersection until there is a reasonable likelihood of clearing it.
Larry asked why it takes so long for drivers on Vancouver Island to get going once the traffic light has changed from solid red to green.
He said he does not experience this kind of delay in larger cities.

There is a good reason for a momentary delay, mostly to check cross-traffic before proceeding.
More and more drivers are allowing time to do a proper shoulder check, particularly before turning. Bike lanes and normal pedestrian traffic are also worth checking.
Larry does have a valid point.

Many people who move to the Island do so to experience the slower pace of life.
This isn’t Vancouver, and certainly not Toronto. Let’s just call it the geriatric shuffle.
Lorne asked about interaction with cyclists, when making a right turn at an intersection.
Cyclists have the right-of-way to proceed straight through or turn, when beside a motor vehicle in a righthand position.

They do not have the same courtesy extended when following vehicular traffic.
Many professional drivers will move close to the right-side curb to protect cyclists.
They are keeping the cyclist safe by doing so.

Every cyclist understands their own vulnerability when travelling in a driver’s blind spot.
Drivers have the responsibility to check their right shoulder area before every right turn.
Cyclists are well-advised to position themselves to their best visual advantage, to see and be seen.
Trevor had a good rant about the “elephant in the room” editorial in the Times Colonist a few weeks ago.

He wanted everyone to know that distraction is a two-way street.
The editorial condemned the actions of inattentive drivers.
The cellular phone was a main target. Trevor referenced pedestrian distraction as a frank but serious rebuttal.
He wants pedestrians to get off their phones when crossing streets.

Look left and right before crossing. Take out the earbuds! Stop looking at your smartphone and texting while walking across the street.
It does not matter whether you have the right-of-way or not.
Being dead right has a great degree of finality.
Ed got stopped by a police officer after making a left turn at a solid red traffic light onto a oneway street.

It is a legal manoeuvre. The problem was simple.
He had not come to a complete stop before making the legal left turn.
Few drivers attempt this action.
The prospect of being stopped in this fashion is somewhat remote.

He got off with a warning and wanted to remind all drivers to stop completely before doing so.

Joe from Dublin, Ireland, reads this column on the internet and had a very interesting question.
It had to do with a crash that happened in Ireland in which a bus driver mistook the gas for the brake.
He wanted to know the name of this syndrome.

It is a common situation: A driver will be travelling forward using the brake to manipulate the forward motion of the vehicle.
The act of motion leads the driver to believe his brake action is moving the vehicle and does the seemingly obvious quick acceleration to stop it.

Does anyone know the name of this syndrome?

Terry wants people to do crisp and predictable lane changes.

It should not be a case akin to suspended animation.






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