Blockers can save you from a collision
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, September 15th 2017
The T-bone intersection crash is one of the most deadly occurrences on our roads.
Here are some techniques every driver can use to place an impediment between themselves and danger.
Busy urban intersections, with several lanes, can provide every driver with an unintended blocker.
For instance, a transit bus is probably the best blocker any driver can find.
Travelling through an intersection, with a bus driver beside one’s vehicle, creates a situation of being shielded from a lateral threat.
So long as the driver in question does not lag behind the bus or get in front of it, the side impact potential on one side is virtually eliminated.
All a driver has to do is be mindful of a single side threat, as opposed to being aware of both lateral directions.
Bus drivers are true professional drivers, who not only protect their passengers but also, by their vehicles’ sheer size, provide protection for other vehicles in the traffic system.
Since most bus drivers use the curb lane, they lower the possibility of a driver being blindsided by a pedestrian crossing the road or a red light runner.
By lagging behind the front of the bus, while going through the intersection, a driver can actually let the bus driver lead the way.
When the most important threat is on the right side of the road, a blocker does come in handy.
Large trucks often perform the same function of running interference through dangerous intersections.
These large vehicles act as a shield in much the same way, especially when they occupy a travelled lane on the left of a multi-lane road.
This will protect the driver door from sudden impact. Instead of being intimidated by large trucks, it is best to use them to one’s advantage.
Professional drivers usually sit much higher in their vehicle than the average passenger-car driver.
They get a better view of the road and can be our guides through difficult situations.
When there are three lanes going in one direction, it is best to go through an intersection in the middle lane with blockers on both sides.
When blockers suddenly slow or stop, drivers should do the same, keeping the larger vehicle as a shield.
Never use a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle as a blocker.
As a general rule, blockers should be at least as large as your own vehicle.
The likelihood of serious injury or death resulting from a secondary side impact is extremely low.
Most drivers would much rather get a clear view of the side roads at every intersection before proceeding.
This is the safest way to traverse an intersection.
When traffic is congested and visibility is very limited, blockers are the next best defence against the side-impact threat.
Drivers making a left turn at an intersection can also be used as protection, especially when they occupy the centre of the intersection.
This manoeuvre provides a static blocker impeding cross traffic.
The advance left-turn arrow at the intersection will often allow for a safe right turn on a red light.
When there is a wide median separating the opposite flow of traffic, it might be better to travel in the left lane and use the blockers on the right side.
When there is only a centre line separating a driver from oncoming traffic, it is probably better to be in the right lane of a double-lane configuration.
Pedestrians crossing the road in groups can act as blockers in certain situations.
This lateral foot traffic will give a driver ample opportunity to safely get across any busy downtown intersection.
Try using blockers in your daily commute, and drive like a pro.