Traffic Safety Perspectives

illustration of poor traffic safetyI am blessed with readers who send me e-mail to suggest traffic safety topics to write about, share a story or even a bit of humour. It's the humour that triggered this column, specifically a photo of people from a third world country packed into a vehicle in a manner that would be totally unacceptable today in British Columbia.

The Good Old Days in BC

I don't have to dig too far in my own memory to recall when we used to load the back of my father's pickup with the neighbourhood kids and set off on an adventure. I can remember standing up in the box of the truck holding onto the headache rack behind the cab and trying to see ahead into that 80 km/h wind.

Traffic Safety Today

Of course, I would never think of doing that today, mainly because of the collision scenes that I have investigated in my traffic enforcement career. It's just too easy to contemplate what might happen.

A Feeling of Superiority

Do we feel a sense of superiority when we compare ourselves to the people in this e-mail picture?

There is no doubt in my mind that more than some of us feel exactly this way. There should be a law to protect these crazy people from themselves! Clearly they can't make the right decision on their own.

Let's Look in the Mirror

Whoa! Time to look in the mirror fellow British Columbians.

We have quite a collection of traffic laws, don't we? 10 over the limit is not a problem, following closely enough to read the fine print on the license plate validation decal gets us there a few seconds sooner and rolling through a stop sign or hesitating slightly before turning right at a red light are only a few of the common ways we flout them.

Who should laugh at whom?

To Look Back From The Future

It would be nice if I could look back at today from twenty years in the future and find a culture where drivers are safety oriented and taking liberties with all the driving conventions was frowned on.

Will it happen? That all depends on how you and I choose to behave and the way we pass that thought on to our children.

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B.C.'s Road Safety Strategy

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My dad was a million mile safe driving award truck driver for Imperial Oil. He gave me, I think, solid advice.

His three ideas were:

1) always expect the other guy to do something stupid so when they do, you are not surprised, you kind of expected them to do that.

2) neither be a leader or a follower. Just keep up with the traffic flow.

3) always keep you mind and eyes on the road. Always check all  your mirrors constantly. Back and side so you are always aware of what is happening around you.

I live by his advice. The only accidents I have had was one fellow  running a red light and one driving too fast on an ice covered roadway and unable to stop at a stop sign and entering the intersection illegally and hitting me  broadside.

I should mention my first accident as a teen which convinced me to think seriously about #3. I was right behind a vehicle on a Main Street when the light changed to green. We started going forward but there was a promotion on the left side of the road with cheerleaders and music. I looked over for a few seconds and the fellow in front of me, if you can believe it, actually almost stopped to gawk. I hit him in his rear.

Didn’t do much damage to either vehicle as we both were not travelling very fast.
But what a lesson for a young man. Thankfully nobody was hurt.

PS: we didn’t have airbags nor did we wear seatbelts as they were not invented yet.

I have a video from the intersection in front of my house showing two trucks going by with young children sitting in the box.

I showed the video to a number of people asking them if they would be comfortable if it was their kids in the trucks. Most said we used to do it all the time, and that I should get a life or something to that effect.

I suspect the 2 trucks are part of some outdoor activities camp, that are providing a service for kids. I see them regularly doing this but it is speculation on my part. 

My point is this, people are more concerned with having the ability to choose how to behave, regardless of the facts or laws associated with the behaviour,than be told what what or how to do something.

Of course that all changes once thing go wrong, then the blame game begins