We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Readers offer concerns, suggestions

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, March 2nd 2018

A pedestrian crosses Douglas Street while talking on her cellphone. Steve Wallace writes that drivers should be encouraged to make eye contact with distracted pedestrians.


Drivers everywhere are frustrated by common sins of commission and omission of others in our traffic system. Here is a sample of some recently received correspondence:

You are in the left lane of a four-lane, two-direction street.
The traffic light changes to solid red and you come to a full stop behind the vehicle in front.
Just before the cycle changes to green in your favour, the driver ahead puts on the left signal, obviously intending to make the left turn.

This delay at a non-left flashing advance arrow causes traffic to clog up in the left lane, while yielding to the oncoming flow.
An early signal would have given everyone else the opportunity to change to the right through lane and continue uninterrupted.

Is this too much to ask?

Several readers wrote that they feel they are looked upon as linecheaters when they use the “zipper” merge at the source of a twolane merge to a single lane.
We should all keep doing it, until it becomes common practice.

The recently constructed “zipper” signs at pivotal locations have helped, but there are still many Backward Columbians who did not get the memo.
Let’s all lead by example.

One reader wanted to have driving through a mall parking lot as part of the driving test.
His rationale was simple: If so many crashes happen in parking situations, why not put it on the provincial driving test?

Rhonda is from Scotland.
She would like to see a further explanation of roundabouts in an upcoming column.
She has seen drivers reversing in the roundabout because they have missed their exit.
Why don’t they just continue around and make a proper exit? Given my Scottish heritage, I can only sympathize with her view.

She would also like to see a simple signal to exit, which would help ease congestion at entry points.
Pat wanted a review of emergency-vehicle protocol.
Drivers must not only pull over, but also come to a full stop for all emergency vehicles with flashing lights and sirens blaring.

Only one side of the street must comply if a median or boulevard separates opposite flows of traffic.
Murray had the best quote of the week.
He wrote: “A squirrel crossing the road has more sense than most people.”
He referenced many pedestrians on cellphones, paying little attention to the dangers of crossing the road.

The relatively new habit of hitting the horn three short taps will alert others to the danger when stopped for a traffic light or at a stop sign.
This will encourage eye-to-eye contact with seemingly suicidal pedestrians.
Melvin is frustrated with people driving with lights burned out.
It is acceptable to flash your lights at others to alert them to this situation.
Do not leave the high beams on for an extended time, in case the other driver can be blinded by the light’s intensity.

Dave is frustrated by the number of drivers without taillights illuminated in fog conditions.
He wants legislation making it mandatory to have both the front and back lights of a vehicle come on upon ignition.
There are times when this would help identify vehicles in rainy conditions, as well.
The most common crash, being hit from behind, might well be reduced if manufacturers were ordered to do this simple task.

Leo attended a presentation about the opioid-death crisis offered by retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
Kendall reported 519 deaths from drug overdoses and 300 deaths in motor-vehicle crashes in 2015.
The latest statistics for the past two years will very likely show a significant jump in deaths related to drug overdoses.

It appears that accidental death in a car crash is no longer the leading cause of such deaths.

I stand corrected.







© 2023 Joan Wallace Driving School. All Rights Reserved.