Column: Make an effort to drive better

With summer officially upon us, the number of cars and, perhaps, impatient drivers on Victoria streets will soon rise.

With summer officially upon us and warmer weather hopefully on its way, the number of cars and, perhaps, impatient drivers on Victoria streets will soon rise.

While police were out enforcing a tougher watch for high-risk drivers throughout May, it’s clear that many drivers still haven’t got the message.

As a fairly new driver – yes, that’s an ‘N’ displayed at the back of my car – I’d like to think that not only I, but other drivers around me, obey the rules of the road and make an effort to drive safely, no matter what time of the year.

That means staying within the legal speed limit, being attentive while driving and not giving in to road rage.

I only recently started driving on a daily basis, and I’m continuously amazed by the things I see drivers around me do.

Just last week, I was driving to work and while stopped in traffic, I saw a young man drive past me. He didn’t catch my eye because of his charming looks, he caught my eye because he had ear buds in his ears while driving.

Is it not enough to have the radio playing during your morning commute?

Having earphones in can’t be safe, nor smart. Not only are you putting yourself at risk, you’re putting other drivers around you in danger as well.

Another act I’ve witnessed, on many counts, is drivers texting and talking on the phone.

While I’ll admit to sending a text or two when stopped at a red light, I could never imagine texting while driving, let alone holding a phone to my ear and steering simultaneously.

Maybe some people are just better at multi-tasking than I am, but not only is using your phone while driving illegal, it’s also just plain stupid.

The thing about this situation that frightens me the most is when people talk and text while on the highway.

It’s annoying enough when people tailgate me while I am going the legal 80 km/h. But having a tailgater who’s talking on their phone behind me makes me feel anything but safe on the road.

One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed is drivers who switch lanes at the very last possible second. Rather than planning their trip and knowing which lane they need to be in to make a left turn ahead, for example, drivers choose to wait. Then before they reach the traffic light, they suddenly squeeze past two lanes of traffic just to make that turn.

If more drivers mapped out their route, or maybe knew where they’re going, fewer rash decisions would be made on the road.

Drivers who recklessly weave in and out of lanes, simply because they’re impatient or in a hurry, are another problem.

If it’s rush hour and everybody is stuck in traffic, driving in and out of lanes won’t get you any further than anyone else.

According to ICBC, almost 60 per cent of crashes are caused by speeding and distracted drivers.

Distracted driving is defined as using communicative or video equipment while operating a vehicle, as well as inattentive driving.

High-risk driving includes failing to yield right of way, tailgating, improper passing and speeding.

Speeding seems to be one habit drivers just can’t drop.

I don’t think I go a day without witnessing a driver zoom past me, whether on the highway or in a 50 km/hr zone.

Unless speeding up is necessary to safely pass a car, drivers shouldn’t let their impatience rule their decision-making.

Just as drivers shouldn’t let dumb decisions, such as texting while driving, determine how safe roads are for others.

Laws exist for a reason. And unless we want our next paycheque to go toward paying for a speeding ticket, or worse, a hospital bill, it’s important to re-evaluate our driving habits and make an effort to drive safely.

Brittany Lee is a reporter intern with the Victoria News.

reporter@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich mayoral candidates clash over leadership

Mayor Richard Atwell justifies slate, while Coun. Fred Haynes accuses Atwell of disparaging council

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Greater Victoria’s real estate market remains strong compared to rest of Canada

Despite cooling, Victoria’s real estate remains a seller’s market, the only one in western Canada

Permit to give deer birth control withheld until consultation with First Nations complete

Complexity of consultation will depend on level of First Nations support for the project

Alcohol and drugs ruled out in serious crash that closed Sooke Rd last week

Two of the three drivers taken to hospital have since been released

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saanich mayoral candidates prepare for first roundtable

Mayor Richard Atwell and Coun. Fred Haynes will be among four mayoral candidates at Thursday’s forum

Feds launching review of oil tanker traffic in bid to renew pipeline approval

The feds have ordered the National Energy Board to bring recommendations on whether pipeline expansion should proceed

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Most Read