Simple driving resolutions for 2019
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, January 4th 2019
Most drivers do not stop fully at a stop sign unless impeded by other traffic.
Only one in 20 will come to a complete stop at an intersection, when no other vehicles and pedestrians are immediately visible.
In our sophisticated traffic system, it is very important to have time to check left and right, but also see if any others have crept into the blind spot of an intersection turn.
This shoulder-check action needs more time than the side-mirror check. Signal every intention.
Drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and all other modes of transportation need to know, well in advance, where traffic intends to go.
There is a greater chance for another driver to give way when they can accurately predict the direction of another.
Looking for a space when anticipating a lane change, without first signalling, frustrates everyone in the system.
It is better to do it in every circumstance, without fail.
It seems odd to recommend a signal out of a garage or driveway.
Once it becomes a natural thing to do, as opposed to a selective action, it is easier to concentrate on other traffic hazards.
Shoulder checks are mandatory.
There is always a blind area over the driver’s shoulder.
Despite recent advancements in blind-spot technology, there is a necessity to see not only one lane but several freeway lanes, when executing a proper lane change.
The shoulder check to the side of intended travel should be timed to take place immediately prior to the turn, lane change, pulling on or off the road and in every lateral parking manoeuvre.
Doing a 360-degree circular check before moving a vehicle from a parking space is good idea.
School zones are sacred.
School and playground zones are in effect when a 30-kilometre-per-hour tab is visible on the speed sign when entering the zone.
The back of the same sign configuration on the opposite side of the road designates the end of the speed zone.
Only this type of sign means a speed shown must be observed.
If there is no speed sign shown, drivers should revert to the regular posted speed under ideal conditions.
School zones are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on school days only, while playground speed zones are every day of the year, during daylight hours.
Think of the kids every time you enter these zones.
A serious mishap in these places is a life-altering event, and not in a good way.
Scan every intersection.
As kids attempting to cross an intersection, we were all taught to stop, look and listen.
Drivers should use the alternating viewing sequence at every intersection.
Instead of always looking leftright-left, the space priority method should be used.
First check the side most difficult to see, then the easy to observe direction and back to the difficult side, for the final check.
This kind of scan is much more efficient than taking one’s eyes away from a very dangerous, difficult-to-see right side, only to re-look at to left side, known to be clear of traffic.
Speed limits matter.
Speed is the most misunderstood principle of physics.
Everyone, it seems (except engineers), has a false idea of braking distance.
Ask any of your friends how far it takes to brake, if a driver triples the speed of the vehicle.
Most will answer three times. It seems like a logical guess.
The correct answer is nine times. It is an exponential relationship.
When drivers intentionally speed, they usually have no idea of the distance required to safely stop their vehicle.
Even a perceived moderate increase of 10-20 km/h has a much more serious consequence than most believe.
Let’s get back to basics.
Happy New Year, Safe New Year!