We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

How to stay safe in a road rage incident

April 9, 2021

Driving to a well-populated area or even to the nearest police station is a good idea when being followed or harassed, writes Steve Wallace. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST


Here are a few reactions to recent news items that have irked readers of this column and others.

Angela has a disability and is not able to walk beyond several metres. She enjoys Clover Point and was happy to support the idea of reserving space for those people with mobility challenges. She likes to drive to the point to watch various activities, including passing or anchored ships, parachute-like gliders, surfers and all sorts of kites, which provide no-cost entertainment. Storm watchers and trackers show up to witness weather events.

There are many people like Angela. They need to be accommodated in their daily pursuits. To this end, governments at all levels have made great strides in the past number of decades, including installing mechanisms for sight-impaired people to safely cross intersections.

Our Island is a mecca for people from other areas of Canada, particularly those with difficulty getting around in the winter months. Snow and ice can cause havoc for people with mobility problems. What better place to be than in Victoria? Vancouver Island has a disproportionately high number of challenged groups, compared to the rest of the country, and should be more mindful and accommodating to those with special circumstances.

Elizabeth is offended by the treatment a woman received from three thugs at a normally busy intersection in Victoria. The incident was well publicized, and as she insists, is worth a mention. The woman was about to go through the intersection on a green light when the threesome walked in front of her. She beeped her horn to warn them. They were offended and pounded on her car.

She stopped and inspected the damage, asking why they did it. They proceeded to pound on her, involving a pilon, no less.

The police have several recommendations for people who find themselves in similar situations. Stay in the vehicle is often the best safety advice. A cellphone is a great device in these situations. Record and report. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Call 911. Get a picture of the offenders. The mere fact that contact was made with the vehicle, let alone what followed, is grounds for police response. Uttering threats also qualifies.

One’s own personal safety is of paramount importance. It is a sad reality that women are much more likely to be targets of this type of illegal confrontation. Hopefully, there will be charges. If anyone witnessed this illegal act two weeks ago, please come forward.

Many new drivers may not be aware that a cellphone can be legally used by drivers in emergency situations. Driving to a well-populated area is a good idea when being followed or harassed. Driving to the police department will discourage ill-intended people.

When new drivers display an L, it indicates a co-pilot is in the vehicle. But the N is a whole different situation. It has long been my position that new drivers should not display the N at night and in other dubious situations, where they can be identified as young people driving alone.

No other jurisdiction in North America demands such a foolish display of such a symbol, which is not even permanently attached.

The magnetic symbol can be removed by any ill-intended person, often without the knowledge of the new driver.

This means of identifying young people driving alone must end. Their safety should be paramount.

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