We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Readers respond with their pet peeves

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, September 8th 2017

A reader suggests merge lanes should have reminders to drivers that they need to accelerate to match the speed of the flow of traffic.



Here are some of the driving pet peeves of readers of this column.
Lois thinks the term “merge” lane is a misnomer.
She would prefer to see the merge sign accompanied by an acceleration sign, which would more properly indicate what a driver should do in such a lane.

She does not like to see drivers come to a full stop or travel along at a ridiculously slow speed in a lane that is supposed to allow for a smooth merge at the posted speed limit.
There are far too many crashes at merge locations, usually because the lead driver has stopped or slowed dramatically at the same time as a following driver is looking back to time a proper merge at an elevated speed.
The result is often a rearend collision, for which the following driver is judged to be entirely at fault.

All drivers should merge at the speed of traffic.
It’s a good idea to look at the space between vehicles that the merging driver wishes to occupy.
You will never hit a space or kill a space.

The spaces are bigger than vehicles and easier to judge.

Laurie asked about pedestrians’ right of way at a four-way stop.
A friend told her that pedestrians should go in the order they arrived, as well as the order in which the vehicles arrived at the stop sign.

This is simply not true!

Pedestrians take precedence over vehicles at such an intersection.
When a pedestrian chooses to walk across the road, all vehicular traffic must stop to allow for a safe crossing.
The vehicle driver who was next to go through the intersection loses the opportunity and can proceed only after the pedestrian has crossed.

The four-way-stop intersection is governed by a first-come, firstserved rule of arrival for vehicular traffic only.
When two or three vehicles arrive at the same time, the one on the right goes first.
When all four vehicles arrive at the same time, the formal rule does not apply. Instead, informal rules seem to apply.

Namely, the biggest vehicle can proceed, or the most worthless jalopy.
The first seems to intimidate, while the second strikes fear into those in close proximity.
Sometimes, the most luxurious vehicle goes first, while other drivers hang back to admire it.
In most cases, it’s best to give a hand gesture to relieve the potential for gridlock.

Jean and Rick have a complaint involving pedestrians.
Jean saw someone walking a dog on a very long leash.

The dog-walker was on the phone and the dog wandered into the path of a vehicle.

Jean had to take evasive action.
If the dog was hit, who would be at fault in such a circumstance? The leash holder is clearly at fault.

Rick asked a similar question.
He encountered a pedestrian standing on the sidewalk at an intersection, governed by an uncontrolled crosswalk.
When he slowed so she could cross the road, the pedestrian stood still, distracted by a cellphone.

In both cases, a tap of the horn to get eye-to-eye contact is recommended.
This life lesson was sent to me by Tony.

“Here lies the body of Samuel DayWho died defending his right of way!

He was right, dead right, as he walked along
But now he’s as dead as if he’d been wrong.”

Communication is the key to sharing the road with others.
Flashing the headlights, tapping the horn, activating the four-wayflashers and other non-threatening hand signals can increase communication and warning among drivers and others on the roadway.

Keep calm and carry on.






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