We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Steve checks in on the reader mailbag

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, September 28th 2018

Although the wearing of seatbelts is mandatory in almost all circumstances, drivers with limited mobility can release the seatbelt while backing up.



A selection of recent random reader requests: When is a driving test discontinued?

There are several reasons for a driving test being halted.
Some are obvious, others not so much.
Driving examiners will abruptly end a practical road test when it is deemed dangerous to proceed.
When candidates, attempting a practical road test, exhibit a complete lack of skill and safety, the process is rightly aborted.

This usually happens at the beginning, as opposed to when the test is well underway.

Bad weather, power failures, mechanically unworthy vehicles and all sorts of unpredictable occurrences can cause a cancellation.
The person taking the test can ask for an abrupt end, for a variety of personal reasons, usually having to do with nerves or an unexpected health condition.
The most dramatic test cancellation request that I have ever been aware of was not only strange, but also cause for three policy changes by the testing authority.

An elderly driver was about halfway through the test route when he asked how he was doing.
The examiner told him that he had already failed on several counts.
The senior pulled off to the shoulder of the road and stopped abruptly.
He reached over to the clipboard being held by the examiner and grabbed his licence.

He then told the examiner to get out of the truck.
The examiner got out and the senior drove away.
It was a very cold day, 20 below zero, and the examiner had forgotten to wear his government-issue winter coat and was at the mercy of the passing traffic.
Luckily, someone did stop and offered a ride back to the testing site.

A new policy resulted from the unfortunate circumstance.
Results were only given after the road test was finished, the driver’s licence was kept out of the reach of the candidate and all examiners were ordered to take a coat with them in winter conditions.
Old age and treachery seemed to trump youth and exuberance that day.

(The senior did eventually regain his driving privileges, but that is a story for another day.)

Is the combining of the driver’s licence and the CareCard mandatory?
It is not. Many people do not believe there is a true firewall between the licence information and the health record.
For this reason, many choose to have two cards and reject the combining option. It is my choice, as well.
There seems to be no way to undo the process, if the cards have been combined.

(There is a target date for all residents to have the two combined. I am in opposition to any such plan, for privacy reasons.)

Can you use left-foot braking on your driving test?
Many experienced drivers use the right foot on the accelerator and reserve the left foot for the brake in an automatic transmission only.
Accomplished and experienced drivers using this technique get to the brake quicker in an emergency.
This is allowed for the testing of experienced drivers but not for beginners.

A failure will result when a driver being tested presses on the gas at a consistent level and uses the brake action to control the speed of the vehicle.
Are seatbelts mandatory when in reverse gear while backing up?
Drivers can release the seatbelt before backing in reverse gear.
This is usually done when the driver lacks the necessary flexibility to see properly while backing up.

The absence of the seatbelt allows for greater visibility by some drivers.
It is best to wear a seatbelt in most all driving conditions.
There are very few physical conditions that exempt people from wearing a seatbelt, but they do exist.

Keep the questions coming. I will try to answer promptly.




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