We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Readers share pet peeves of the road

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, March 17 2017

A reader’s biggest pet peeve is pedestrians who don’t look both ways before walking across intersections.


Here are some readers’ reactions to last week’s column on what is bugging us behind the wheel.

Patrick is upset with pedestrians walking across intersections without looking both ways.

Some ignore the Don’t Walk sign and choose to run, which is worse, allowing little time for a driver to react.

It’s a good idea not only to get eye contact with pedestrians but observe their feet, since that’s the best way to predict the intended path of travel.

Many readers want a median-divided highway, with set turnarounds, the entire length of the Malahat.
There is a plan for that. For many of us who travel this road, it cannot come too soon.
Margaret wants better lane markings on all roads.

She thinks reflective painted lines should be mandatory.
If not, cat’s-eye reflectors should be installed.
There are many times when an old set of lane markings that has been burned off actually appears more prominent at night.

All levels of government should be legally required to use reflective technology to differentiate lane use.
Janet has trouble with the height and intensity of SUVs’ headlights.

These higher vehicles can blind an approaching driver in a lower car.

There is also a real danger of high-intensity diode headlights compounding the problem.

Lorraine is frustrated by the lack of synchronized traffic lights. She wants to know why lights operate in a seemingly random fashion.
With 13 municipal jurisdictions, it might be a product of decentralization.
But surely, highways 1 and 17 must have a single authority. I will endeavour to find out.

Daryl remembers when the traffic lights were synchronized all the way from Kingsway in Vancouver to New Westminster at 50 km-h.
If they can do it on Portage Avenue, through Winnipeg, we surely can do it on Vancouver Island.

Norm, a retired police officer, wants our constabulary to be more efficient at investigating traffic crashes, as are police who deal with the I-5 in Washington state and Highway 401 in Ontario.

He believes there is no excuse for a five- to seven-hour highway closure, as happens far too often in B.C.
Robert wants to see stop-sign enforcement, particularly as it pertains to high-volume turn lanes, where pedestrians can suffer serious injuries in a vehicle collision.

This includes the right turn on a solid red light.

Dave wants me to refer to signal indicators, as opposed to signal lights. He thinks the term will make a greater impression on those who choose not to use them.
Nicola is concerned about cyclists riding without lights at night. She says it’s a particular problem at dusk, as cyclists try to make it home before dark.

Cyclists always have greater potential for serious injury when colliding with motorists.

Light up and live!

Jack wants drivers waiting for oncoming traffic while setting up a left turn to move into the intersection.
That allows for at least one or two vehicles to complete the turn at a time.
Glen is upset with a lack of emphasis on traffic flow in Vancouver Island communities.
Keeping traffic moving is akin to keeping the economy moving. Stay tuned for more on this topic.

Incidentally, Suzanna caught me on a bike item. In the last column, I mentioned that hand signals for cyclists should include both arms.
She reminded me of the rule change allowing for a cyclist to signal an intention to turn right with an outstretched right arm, as well as the more traditional left upright arm signal.

The law changed in 1996.

Who knew?





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