Road Safety

The concept of safety is very simple, and easy to manage if there is no complacency. Sadly in today’s society, there is a whole lot of me, me, me, now, now, now, and far less of do it correctly and safely so as not to have an “accident.”

The term “accident” is incorrectly used for such occurrences. An accident is just that, an unavoidable circumstance, like having a tree fall on your house when lightning struck, or when a baseball hits a window.  A collision is what happens when a vehicle or more than one vehicle crashes. Many things cause that crash, and none of those causes are accidental.

The simple skill of reading a road sign can prevent many of these collisions. The ability to use your eyesight and judge distances properly can prevent them as well. Reducing speed when traffic slows, instead of continuing to fly down an open lane can obviously prevent these as well.

Weather is a common source of complacent attitudes. Morning dew is frequent and very few motorists ever wipe it off, resorting to lazy attitudes of using only wipers or defrost buttons. I blame auto supply stores like Canadian Tire for actually showcasing these attitudes as a reason to buy their product. Let me put this in a general way that’s easy to understand, a rhyming poem.

If your window is not clear, don’t put the car in gear. Wipe it, don’t drive it.

Snow is obviously even worse than dew for this kind of attitude, and far more dangerous, and still used in commercials, which infuriates me. Wiper blades and defrost buttons are not good enough for dew, and are even less effective for snow.  Defrost is to keep an already clear window clear, not to melt frost, ice or snow that still sits on it. Wiper blades should also never be the sole source of snow removal despite commercials by Canadian Tire which enforce this complacent behaviour. There are two things required to clear snow ice and frost, a snowbrush and an ice scraper, requiring elbow grease, and common sense. Far too many motorists attempt to drive (it’s not driving if it’s unsafe) rolling mobile Snowbanks. Far too many stare through horizontal lines of defrost rather than use an ice scraper as an intelligent person would do. Far more rely on wiper blades alone to clear the windshield alone, as though the remaining 75-80% of their vision is not required. This last one is used to sell them at stores like Canadian Tire, which is quite frankly despicable. Snow is not an essential part of a vehicle, so it should be removed from all parts of the car, especially lights which are required more often as darkness comes sooner, and tires as it prevents possible steering with giant salt deposits in fenders. I will stop 3-4 times on my commute home through a snowstorm just to see out of my car, and prevent my lights from being obscured and wheels from getting stuck.

Turning correctly seems to be the most common method of the “me” society attitude that doing things properly and safely don’t matter when I can be lazy and take multiple lanes turning instead of properly signaling each lane one at a time. So these individuals enter right lanes turning left, and left lanes turning right, which has always been 100% wrong. Left and Right are NEVER interchangeable.  One has never equaled Two, or three, or four either. You can be assured that many collisions are caused by this complacent attitude.

Intersections seem to be meaningless to people in rush hour type traffic. Side streets and full intersections complete with traffic lights are meaningless to egotistical motorists that feel traffic must move only in their direction and they must go because the light is green. First off, green never means go, it means proceed if and when the way is clear, and if it’s not clear, you DO NOT proceed. Period.  Geometry is a simple skill that can be mastered by five year olds, yet many motorists inability to comprehend space, shape, and distance required for their vehicles to FIT on the other side of the crossing street seems to amount to rocket science for them. Another poem perhaps?

If you do not fit, do not be a geometrically deficient twit.

Road signs, for many are an annoyance, and an inconvenience, but those people are not drivers. Drivers read them, and are always aware of what’s happening. Lanes ending, lanes merging, lanes turning, not crossing lines, not blocking intersections, construction warnings, speed limits, school zones (far too many speed here), hospitals, police, fire halls (far too many block these), parade routes, road closures, no U-turns, all of these things are necessary information to prevent motorists from being stuck next to a guardrail hoping to merge, parked in the intersection as opposing traffic turns green to aim at them head-on, and more importantly preventing pedestrians and children from getting hit. Never read your cell phone apps. Always read the road signs. Some of those signs are painted arrows on the road itself.

Texting/smart(dumb)phone app-ing should have your license revoked. These supposedly meaningless tasks, which are apparently more important to motorists than whether they live to see the next day, are well documented and proven as being more dangerous than driving drunk. Driving under the influence of alcohol is impaired, texting, phoning without a Bluetooth is impaired, a snow covered, frost covered, dew covered, salt covered, or mud covered vehicle is impaired (truck commercials are bad promoters of this). Eyes on the road, the mirrors, and the road signs, never in your lap, in your hand, or anywhere else that prevents you from seeing what the road ahead may present. A phone belongs at a desk, not on a steering wheel. The big difference is the desk is far less likely to kill you, and more importantly, anyone else who is innocent to your crime.

It’s time people stopped thinking only about themselves as they endanger everyone around them. It’s time auto supply stores like Canadian Tire stop promoting poor motorist activity as a reason to buy their product to keep doing it. Pedestrians are being hit, motorists are causing highways to shut down, and all of these things are preventable. They are no accident. If it means re-testing every time you renew your license, then so be it. There have been many guardrail collisions lately on major highways, it needs to stop.

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