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Steve Wallace: Readers weigh in on road safety, ICBC



Saanich police investigate at the scene of a fatal collision between a motorcycle and a pickup truck on Prospect Lake Road on Sept. 30.
It seems to take a fatal crash for authorities to address an unsafe road, Steve Wallace writes.



Don was robbed. He had dutifully locked his vehicle and went to the trunk to retrieve some luggage prior to checking into his hotel. His vehicle was ransacked when he returned the next morning. Many new vehicles (this was a very new model) do not have independent lock systems. We must all be reminded to do an all-lock action, if even only one door or a trunk is opened before leaving our vehicles unattended. He checked the owner’s manual and did not read any warning of this situation, which he calls a “silly system.” You’ve been warned.

Anne had been told by her dad to always be aware of the car interior dome light. If it does not light up when returning to the vehicle and opening the driver door, it is possible an intruder is hiding in the back seat. “Vacate immediately” was dad’s advice.

Bennett had a common but thoughtful comment on the recent fatal crash on Prospect Lake Road. It could apply to most every circumstance of this kind in our traffic system. Why are we a reactive society rather than proactive one? For years, residents of this road have asked for safety upgrades. It seems to take a death to motivate authorities.

Carrie asks about hand-over-hand steering being acceptable on a road test, as opposed to the “shuffle,” used by many police personnel. Both methods are accepted on the provincial road test. It is also acceptable to have the wheel return by having it slide through one’s palms.

Ed wants to remind all drivers to have their taillights on during the dreary days of fall and winter, when it is difficult to see the back of a vehicle in the dim light of dawn and dusk.

Jim wants speed limits to be reduced by 10 kilometres per hour on the highway at night. This is a common practice south of the border. Should we follow suit? Will it reduce the number and severity of crashes?

Janet drives a 20-passenger bus. She is amazed at the number of pedestrians who do not make eye contact with drivers at intersections, and the assumption of the right-of-way by cyclists. It is an odd behaviour by both, considering the injury potential. Tapping the horn once can alert pedestrians to one’s presence. Cyclists can be protected by drivers positioning their vehicles in such a fashion as to encourage safe cycling routes. Curb-close right turns are a way of keeping cyclists out of the driver’s blind spots.

Dave wants a mechanism that will allow a left turn at busy highway intersections, when no oncoming vehicles are visible, instead of being held back until the advance left turn arrow appears. Surely some bright traffic engineer could accommodate with a unique modern solution.

Toni wants fewer stop signs and more yield signs. I concur.

Mai asked if school zones apply on Pro-D Days and at junior and senior schools. They apply in both cases, when a 30-km/h sign is present.

Marvin is upset with ICBC for its discrimination against senior drivers. I agree, but it is the superintendent, not ICBC, making the rules. ICBC is simply the delivery agent. Marvin believes the great wave of baby boomers will eventually kill this age discrimination policy. The sooner the better.

Tom asked if a beeper tone, on large trucks reversing, is mandatory. No, it is not, but is recommended by the association representing truckers. It was originally meant as an additional safety measure in company-owned parking lots and at work sites.

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






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