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Why are many Victoria drivers so polite?

February 21, 2019

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, December 14th 2018

A Seattle visitor wants to know why Greater Victoria drivers are so slow and polite. Steve Wallace thinks he has the answer.

 

 

Here are more answers to readers questions: A Seattle visitor asked me two predictable questions: Why are Victoria drivers so polite?
And why do they go so slow?

The best answer I could give was to refer to our geography and relative community size.
We live on an island.
Our municipal population is a few thousand under the 400,000 mark, south of the Malahat.

Most Island communities, such as ours, do not have the relative anonymity of larger communities.
Compared with the size of Seattle, we are a minor neighbourhood.
Another reason might be our larger population of seniors.

Polite to a fault!

Why are SUVs so popular?
The last driving-school convention shed some light on the topic.

An aging population finds it much easier to enter and exit a vehicle at hip level, instead of stooping down low to enter and requiring a stepladder to exit.
Also, SUVs do not have a trunk.
The back of the vehicle is truly the rear end.
There is no guesswork involved in estimating the dimension of a reverse move without a back-up camera.

Drivers sitting a little higher in a SUV are not blinded by the headlights of oncoming vehicles.
(Ford is phasing out the making of sedans in the next two years.)
Can you turn left across yellow double lines?
Yes, it is legal to do so. The manoeuvre is allowed, provided the traffic behind is not inconvenienced.

The unofficial explanation of “inconvenienced” was explained to me by a traffic cop: If there are more than three vehicles being held up by such a turn, a ticket could be issued.
It usually involves entering a residential property.
Is it legal to have over-sized tires that extend outside the frame of the wheel wells, thus spraying others with mud or slush?

No, it is not!
Travis from Washington state wanted me to know that my advice to flash the high beams, as a means of warning oncoming drivers to dim theirs, is illegal in that state.

Who knew?

Is it legal to make a left turn at a red light onto a one-way street?
Yes, once you stop and there are no pedestrians or vehicular impediments.
Al has a suggestion for those transporting young children: Seat the child on the right side of the vehicle.

This will make it possible for a safe and easy exit to the sidewalk side of the vehicle.
Kids should not get out into traffic.
It is also comforting for very young children to see mom or dad while travelling.

Cam, my Times Colonist editor, saw an interesting traffic-light sequence in Britain.
The light goes from green to yellow to red, then briefly yellow before going back to green.
It is a good way of warning drivers of the imminent green light, especially when the cross-traffic lights are not visible.

We should do that here.
Melvin is bothered by drivers stopping much too close to his rear bumper.
He is afraid of a chain reaction rear-end collision.
The assertion that drivers should be able to see the rear tires of the vehicle ahead, when stopped, is correct.

The timely use of the four-way flashers will often discourage this kind of unsafe and impolite behaviour.
Be very conscious of approaching vehicles that are not illuminated.
They will appear further away.

Our brains are more likely to key on vehicles that are lit up, and pay less attention to those that are not.

I have been told by some U.S. researchers that these unlit vehicles have more crashes that lighted ones.

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