We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Are you an annoying driver?

By Steve Wallace, Times Colonist, May 3rd 2013

Do you leave two to three seconds between your vehicle and the one you’re following? The old rule of car lengths no longer applies. With micro-cars now popular in the traffic system, it’s important to have enough time to stop in an emergency. Tailgaters are annoying. They do not understand or seem to care about the basic physics of braking distance. When we increase speed, the braking distance increases by a square proportion. Double the speed and it takes four times as far to stop. Triple the speed and it’s nine times as far. The rear-end collision is the most common on our roads. Are you an annoying BUMPER SNIFFER?

Do you properly signal your intention to turn, change lanes, enter and leave the traffic system? Drivers should signal in advance of such manoeuvres. At least three cycles of a signal are necessary to properly warn following traffic of an intention to alter the forward motion of a vehicle. Do you frustrate others by forgetting to cancel your signal? Are you a SIGNORAMUS?

Do you speed from traffic light to traffic light? Most drivers know that traffic lights are timed to correspond to the posted speed limit. Do you seem to be surrounded by the same fellow commuters, despite racing from light to light? Are you an annoying RED LIGHT ROADRUNNER?

Do you insist on driving in the extreme left lane of a multi-lane highway, while holding up traffic behind you? Do you ignore signs asking slower traffic to keep right or reserving the left lanes for passing only? If so, you are a BELLIGERENT BLOCKER.

Do you talk on a handheld cellphone while driving? It’s illegal to do so. Distracted driving has now marginally surpassed drunk driving as the cause of vehicle crashes in most jurisdictions in North America. Are you a DESPISED DISTRACTOMITE?

Do you think an amber traffic light means speed up to get through the intersection at all costs? An amber traffic light means stop, unless you’re already in the intersection or so close as to make stopping a danger to the public.

Do you slow down once you’ve passed a vehicle on the highway? The act of passing should be reserved for travellers who wish to go faster than the vehicles they have recently overtaken. Drivers who slow to an annoying speed after passing are the cause of phenomenal frustration for the average commuter. Are you a PUTT-PUTT PASSER?

Do you pass a vehicle only to slow down in preparation for a right turn at the very next intersection? This action forces following traffic to slow down to accommodate you.

Do you insist on changing lanes unnecessarily? Lane jumpers are often the cause of high-speed crashes on freeways. Serpentine driving should be reserved for the race track.

Do you enter an intersection without the space needed to safely exit? Gridlock is a common situation caused by inattentive drivers. The intersection becomes totally blocked by cross traffic, preventing any movement straight through an intersection. Are you a GRIDLOCK GOON?

If you have a favourite frustration that has been overlooked, please send me an email. Readers of this column are not likely to be annoying drivers. Feel free to pass this column on to those who you think may qualify.

Tom Antkow, a driving school owner from Denver Colorado, deserves credit for the inspiration for this column.


Steve Wallace is the owner of Joan Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island and in the Central Interior of B.C. He is the former Western Canadian vice-president of the Driving Schools Association of the Americas. Steve is a registered B.C. teacher and a graduate of the University of Manitoba.





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