Steve Wallace: 12 Christmas driving wishes this holiday season
Here are 12 examples of what readers of this column want mentioned during this mobile holiday season.
1. Is it too much to ask drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and any others employing an alternate mode of transportation, to signal an intention? Commuting is all about communication. Whether one is a pedestrian with an outstretched arm about to cross the road or a cyclist making a turn, it certainly helps drivers prepare for and accommodate the action. Bill, a reader, is a retired police sergeant. He has seen a increasingly slack attitude toward this simple task over the last several years.
2. We have just experienced the shortest day of the year, and by simple observation the longest period of afternoon to morning darkness. Most new cars light up automatically, both front and back. This will soon be mandatory for all domestic and foreign manufacturers. Drivers should make sure they have their taillights turned on during their daily commute. The rear-end collision is the most common. The back lights, by virtue of the illusion of closeness, encourage more space being provided by following traffic of all kind.
3. Is it too much to ask the transportation authorities of various levels of government to paint lane lines on our roads that are reflective and can seen clearly during nighttime travel? It is ridiculous that the old burned off lane lines are more prominent in the rain at night, than the newly painted ones. Is it going to take a preventable fatality to bring the authorities to their senses? Probably.
4. Following too close is a common mistake by the average driver. Double the speed means four times farther to stop, triple results in nine times the distance. Most drivers, particularly the non-professionally trained, do not appreciated this exponential relationship. Ergo, the most common crash is the rear-end collision.
5. Speed is a demon. The same principle of the speed differential applies at upper speeds. Most drivers do not recognize the rapidly increasing distance to stop at high speed. The skid marks necessary to stop are almost double with an increase of about 30 kilometres per hour on a highway route.
6. Let’s standardize the solid amber light timing for all traffic lights in the province. This would give a degree of certainty to drivers, regardless of which part of the province we happen to visit.
7. Let’s stop harassing senior drivers with perfect driving records. If people have been driving for half a century without incident, we should be rewarding them, not giving them a notice to attend at a doctor’s office, for no good reason, at a cost of $200.
8. The same goes for the new drivers. If they have driven for three years, through the L and N phase without incident, forgive the second required road test. The carrot will very likely work better than the stick.
9. While we are on the topic of driver testing, let’s retest those drivers who are chronic and repeat offenders. A stiff fine might deter the average wage-earner, but the suspension of a driving privilege can be a much more effective behaviour-modification technique.
10. Get rid of unnecessary stop signs. They can be replaced by traffic circles and yield signs, where applicable. This would help the environment and reduce commuter frustration.
11. Let’s encourage all shopping mall property owners to double the handicapped and family parking spaces. Those with ambulatory challenges and families with young children should be given greater emphasis in these very busy public and private spaces.
12. Lastly, let’s all try to be a little more patient with the other drivers and road users. A tap of the horn can be just as effective as a loud blare. We have just come through a season of goodwill — let’s try to make it last all year long.
Steve Wallace is the owner of Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island. He is a former vice-president of the driving Schools Association of the Americas, a registered teacher and a University of Manitoba graduate.