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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read