What I've Learned From Running This Web Site
The DriveSmartBC web site has been in existence for just over nine years now. It has been and continues to be a very interesting hobby for me. I thought that this week I would review a few of the things that I have learned from being a road safety webmaster.
I hate to admit it, but I make mistakes. Thank goodness few of them survive the editing process but some saves have come very close to the click of the publish button. The last article concerning roundabouts owes one correction to Paul who watched it in the process of being written and telephoned me about it before I was done. Thanks to all of my editors!
We all think that we are driving experts. I regularly receive e-mail suggesting that I write an article to tell drivers that they cannot or must (insert topic of choice). Most are right on, but some are partly or totally incorrect.
Discussions among adults on a web site occasionally deteriorate to the debating style of Ralph Kramden. I know I'm dating myself when I say that but some of the back and forth proceeded to the point where it looked like he who shouts loudest wins. Oddly, it seems to be the male drivers involved in these on line contests.
Everyone knows (insert your assertion here). I work hard to find good examples to link to in my articles and hope that they are not unconsciously biased. It can be very interesting to see what results when I ask a commenter to back up their observations with a link. Sometimes I learn from it and sometimes they learn from it. Either way, we both benefit.
People will tell you all sorts of things that you should not know. DriveSmartBC appears to occasionally be mistaken for a web site run by either the provincial government or ICBC. E-mails sent to me in the past have contained some combination of a full name, address, birthdate and driver's licence number along with a request to take some action for the person. Please be careful people, someone dishonest can do bad things with this information!
If something is not done about a situation, the resulting crash will kill someone. There, I've said my piece and it's now in your hands to solve the problem. Don't expect me to do anything else. This can be very frustrating for me because I am willing to put in time to help them take action to make improvements and sometimes do before I find out that they really want someone else to do it for them.
ICBC is always accommodating when I ask for data or advice. I can also say that the response usually arrives in my inbox promptly. When it does not, there is a good reason why not.
Dealing with the provincial government can be hit or miss. If you know the right person to ask, anything is possible. Some e-mail requests disappear forever, never to be heard from again. Occasionally a response bears very little connection to the question that was asked. A follow up request may be met with the same answer repeated over again or no response at all. Ditto for municipal governments.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge some very good people that I have met along the way. Dan and Paul are driving instructors who volunteer their time to discuss road safety and provided their free time to give check out drives to a couple of lucky newsletter subscribers. Steve at Wallace Driving School did the same. Mike at Quickscribe Services provided an account to keep track of legislation changes with and Paul Hergott contributes counsel and writing examples to follow.
Thank you to everyone, especially those of you who take the time to read my efforts each week!