Stay wise behind wheel

Retired RCMP officer comments on issues affecting drivers.

Now and again you hear about something so stupid that you shake your head and wonder what the heck was that driver thinking? Yesterday’s case in point was an older female who stopped in the fast lane on the opposite side of a divided highway to take a picture of a fatal collision. All the traffic behind had to screech to a halt to avoid colliding with her.

I’m sorry, but this is really a selfish, totally thoughtless act committed by someone who is old enough to know better. It is not an inadvertant mistake that any one of us might make. This is the type of driver who comes to mind when I hear arguments for raising speed limits, backing off on the Immediate Roadside Prohibition and the impoundment of vehicles for driving at exessive speeds.

They deserve to get “spanked” and in some cases spanked hard. They are thinking only of themselves, or not thinking at all. There is no concern shown for anyone else on the highway and you and I are paying for it with our taxes and insurance premiums. We also pay for it with injury and death.

What to do? Ticket them, prohibit them, require taking driver training or re-examine them before they are able to renew their driver’s licence? Instances of thoughtless behaviour are becoming far too commonplace on our highways and we need to foster an attitude of co-operation and respect. Those that don’t or won’t should be invited to become a passenger instead of a driver.

Glare

Welcome to fall! It’s the time of year that I have trouble driving to work in the morning. The sun is low in the sky to the east at the time of my commute and there is one spot on the highway where it shines directly into my eyes making it very difficult to see. Worse still, this location has an intersection with a traffic light that can be completely obscured by the glare.

The first line of defence is to keep my windshield as clean as possible. I use good wiper blades, winter washer fluid and top up the reservoir regularly. I also use a good quality glass cleaner on the inside of the windshield. It can be surprising how dirty the inside can get when the defroster is used. Dirt makes glare worse, so a clean view is a must.

My sun visor and polarized sunglasses make up the second line of defence. These sunglasses can remove significant amounts of glare and are not to be confused with glasses that have anti-reflective coatings. The two are not the same. When they are not enough, I use the same trick that I use when I am avoiding headlight glare at night, watch the edge of the lane so I know where I am.

The last line of defence is to anticipate and slow down. This gives me more time to search out the traffic signals and make sure that I am not going to run a red light. Keeping in mind that drivers behind me are also affected by the glare I may choose to slow down before it is required so that I am not hit from behind.

The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.

 

 

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