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We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

You have questions, Steve has answers

June 17, 2016

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, June 17th 2016

One reader asks why there is more than a two-month wait to schedule a road-test appointment with ICBC. Columnist Steve Wallace reports the corporation is adding staff to reduce the delay. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

More readers’ questions: Bruce wants to know how to handle overly polite drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

They have all waved him on, giving up their own right-of-way, in several circumstances.
He is particularly concerned when an oncoming driver stops in the inside lane of a multilane road, in what can only be described as a moment of misguided courtesy, to allow Bruce to turn left.
The situation gets very dangerous when oncoming vehicle drivers in the outside lane cannot see him making a left turn at the invitation of the overly courteous driver.

He has also seen drivers stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk with a flashing green light.
Vehicles following were frustrated with this behaviour, since a stop is only necessary to avoid a collision or when the amber and red-light cycle is evident.

It is best to stay put when there is a potential for a crash as a result of a misguided seemingly polite action of a vehicle driver.
This action will force the oncoming driver in the first example to move forward, clearing the way and at the same time allowing for better visibility of the outside lane.

The effective use of the horn usually solves the second misguided stop for pedestrians. Tapping, instead of blasting, the horn is often the most effective way to use it.

Why do drivers stop when trying to merge? This was another question asked of me just last week.
This kind of unnecessary stop on the highway merge lane will most certainly result in a failure on a driver’s test.
Most drivers look at the vehicles when merging at high speed on a highway or freeway.
The proper way to merge is to simply look at the gaps between vehicles on the highway and fill the gap.

These spaces between vehicles are moving at the speed of traffic, are bigger than the cars and are easier to judge. You will never hit or kill a space.

When drivers stop at the end of a merge lane, not having reached a proper merge speed, they risk being hit from behind by a following driver who is looking back in order to do a safe and seamless merge.

A person called me last week and asked a simple question, to which I did not have an adequate answer.
Why is it taking from the second week of June to the last week of August to get a road-test appointment in Victoria? The wait times are even longer in Greater Vancouver.

ICBC knows exactly how many learners’ licences have been issued and has a very good idea how many road tests will be booked in the coming year.
There is absolutely no excuse to limit road-test appointment scheduling, when at the same time hundreds of millions of dollars each year are deemed surplus to the needs of ICBC and returned to provincial coffers as general revenue.

In my latest face-to-face meeting with three ICBC representatives, it was made clear to me they are taking steps to correct these extended wait times by adding staff.

The sooner, the better.

Several questions were posed by readers concerning distracted-driving charges and fines, too many to answer in just one column. Here is one of them.
Is it legal to use a handheld phone when in a fast-food drive-through, given that the driver is on private property? In fact, it is illegal.
Private-property owners must deny public access by means of physical barriers in order to be exempt.

(More on distracted driving legislation soon.)

 

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