Pet Peeves Ahead

pet peeves ahead signEveryone has a pet peeve related to driving, right? I know what mine are, but I was curious about what others might say if I asked, so I did. My faithful weekly newsletter readers responded without hesitation and I want to share their thoughts with you.

The top complaint involved space margins. Dislike of drivers who follow too closely was equalled by drivers who move in too soon after passing. Drivers who try to bulldoze others out of the way received special mention along with those who force other drivers to make a gap for them to facilitate a lane change.

Anticipation, planning and preparing ahead of time will prevent you from finding yourself in the wrong lane at the wrong time.

A close second goes to drivers who do not signal or who do not give an adequate signal. A defensive driver always signals, even when they think that no other traffic is around.

A variation on this would have pedestrians point their way to safety. Signaling drivers that you wish to cross by pointing along the crosswalk may increase the possibility that they will yield.

Third place is speed related, and if you grouped all the related behaviours together this peeve should probably top the list. Between simply traveling over the speed limit and being slower traffic that failed to keep right there were enough votes to come first.

Special mention was made of drivers who accelerate to the speed limit at the start of a passing lane and then slow back down again after it ends along with inappropriate speed limits, either too high or too low.

It's now a toss up between noisy exhaust and failing to come to a full stop in the proper place. Not stopping properly is one of the behaviours I discuss in Don't Let This Become Your Default Setting. Bad habits can be both dangerous and hard to break.

Cyclists who don't follow any traffic rules received a vote. It will be interesting to see how the Motor Vehicle Act will be amended to reflect modern cycling considerations. This is currently has enthusiastic support from municipalites and health authorities are also lending support.

We must not forget daytime running lights. The common problems here are not being operational or not having lights on the rear of the vehicle when they are needed.

In a way, I've saved what might be the best observation for last.

One commercial driver expressed the thought that many drivers fail to take the time to analyze before acting. If you are aware of what is going on around you as you drive, you may never find yourself in an unsafe situation.

I particularly liked the comment by the commercial driver. What he is saying generally is, there is often a failure in maintaining situational awareness. That is the ability to constantly be aware of what is happening around you. Lack of situational awareness will result in lack of space around your vehicle, hard stops, hard breaking, etc.

Yes some drivers tail gate and do the the things on the Pet Peeve list. Excessive Speed is a consistent factor whenever I drive on the highway 19 or highway 4 . Yesterday I travelled from Alberni with truck towing a boat behind me. I’m able to pass slower traffic in the passing lanes quickly and efficiently. The truck towing the boat stayed right on my tail-big power in that truck! Big power.

Rarely do I see a Police vehicle on my travels, but yesterday I saw 4. Two were attending an accident south of Union Bay. A SUV was in the ditch and the boat was on the side of the road. Then in Courtenay two more patrol cars attending a collision between 2 pick up trucks in the 50 KPH lane on Cliff avenue. Significant damage -likely write offs. Wondering if the causes of these accidents was not in the big three –Excessive speed, Distracted or impaired.

These accidents will continue until the present Government addresses the “big three” causes. Yes- the same repeating causes, Excessive Speed, Distracted and Impaired.

When will elected folks work on this issue?

With little to no enforcement, drivers with poor and even dangerous driving attitude seeing not consequences to their actions. They will continue to act the way they do until an incident (ie road rage where both drivers would be blamed) or accident resulting in property damage, personal injury or death happened and then that's when the police would have no choice but to get involved.

I live in Richmond BC, works between Vancouver, Delta and Surrey.

For 9 years, I have been driving with my fog lights on day and night, rarely in any foggy condition. Driven over 100,000 km, not even once was I stopped, warned or ticketed by police in any of these four cities or municiplities. Foglights are prohibited unless when conditions warrant the usage because they shine glare on the road and distract drivers oncoming traffic or on the same road.

Few months back, I got bulldozed onto the oncoming traffic lane by a speeding truck. Luckily no accident. My wife, my 11-year old daughter and I still live to tell. I had all this on my HD car cam. Downloaded video to my phone so I could show the Richmond RCMP. Guess what happened.

The officer on duty barely glanced at the video 5 feet away and said he was not going to take any action because:

1) video is not admissible in court. I guess my family was not in a hospital bed so we did not count as victims and witnesses supporting the video evidence

2) even if he does all the work and ends up meeting up with the other driver, he likely would be yielded at in 'f' words (yes this officer did say that) and if he ticketed him (yes he was identifiable because my wife even took a picture of the licence plate and the driver when I pulled next to him at the next traffic light), the driver would hire a lawyer and dispute it and most likely the court would rule in favor of him. This officer suddenly became that driver's best friend, lawyer and the judge in court. He is CERTAIN he would hire a lawyer and the judge would rule in favor of him so no action was necessary on his part.

I do have to clarify it was not totally true he said he would do nothing. He said he did checked on the computer with the information I provided to the receptionist. He reassured me his vehicle has a history of offence or complaints and he was confident the driver would be stopped one day. He also said he was going to input note on the computer so next time if this driver got stopped for a violation, whoever stopping him would not cut him any slack and would write him a ticket. At that moment, I wonder this driver already has a history of complaints or violations what if next time he caused an accident, someone got injured or killed? I guess to the Richmond RCMP, that rarely happens. People only got injured or killed by their own faults and not other drivers who have a history of dangerous driving practices. Or may be when a speeding driver who caused injuries or death, car cam video would suddenly be admissible and the judge would rule against the offending driver?

My family does not believe in the police anymore. Here are the violations we see on a daily basis that are not being enforced:

1) high beam or after market HID or LED headlights that blind oncoming traffic. Very easy to tell because the car next to it which has factory HID or LED does not blind us. One driver in my neighborhood has aftermarket HID installed for over two years. I don't see her changing it back to factory headlights. So doubted she ever got stopped by police. If I had not been stopped for nine years of having fog lights on why would she?

2) insurance decal expired (GROSSLY expired). I have been driving for over 30 years. In the past, I really didn't see many cars with expired insurance decal. May be once every one to two years. In the last few years, I see more and more vehicles with invalid sticker. This year, I started to see them two to four a week. Last month, driving from Richmond to Vancouver then Surrey I saw four invalid decals in three hours of driving. No. They are not expired 'yesterday'. I see cars with two to eight months expired decal regularly.

3) Car with no decal on rear licence plate. These are passenger cars not commercial vehicles. Are commercial vehicles allowed to have insurance decal on the front plate and not the rear? I even started seeing vehicles of City of Richmond to put their decal on the front plate. Not all of them but a few of them. Strange. Shouldn't that be consistent? I guess with zero law enforcement, you can put it anywhere you want including in your glovebox. They would not be ticketed or 'cut some slack' and be warned by police officers.

4) Cars (late models imported from US I assume) do not have DRL. DRL was mandated for more than 25 years in Canada but not USA. I bought a US import. The seller said he installed the DRL before getting it passing safety inspection and imported to Canada. However, he did not like 'the look' of DRL so he disconnected it. Being a law abiding citizen, I went to 'reinstall' it and found that non of the headlights and fog lights wire were ever altered. Even with no DRL retrofitted the shop authorized to sign safety reports for import vehicles just signing it. BTW, this vehicle had accident on the rear left but safety inspection from this shop clearly stated the damage was on the right. A rubber stamping for a fee process. Pay attention and see how many less than 25 years vehicles on the road with no Daytime Running Light. I guess DRL would reduce accident is just a myth. A law not worthwhile to enforce in the lower mainland.

5) no signaling before turning or lane changing. Nowadays, less than half of the drivers in Richmond, Vancouver, Delta and Surrey signal before they turn or changing lane. Many would wait for the light to change green before signalling to turn. Vehicles behind them could have easily wait at the other lane should they signal in advance. Would traffic congestions be improved if they signaled correctly? common sense says "yes" But that's low priority to the police.

I know someone is going to point out in this website, DriveSmartBC there are statistics for 2015 & 2016 showing the offences described above were being ticketed. But I have to raise the following points on these statistics:

1) they are data from ICBC and the numbers are rounded UP (ie exaggerated)

2) those are numbers for the entire BC and not necessary reflecting the amount of law enforcement in major cities in the lower mainland. Next time when you are on the road, pay attention to the vehicles in front of you and you be the judge if the above violations are enforced.

I did talk to the same office who handled my complaint of being bulldozed into oncoming traffic about the expired insurance decal. Here was his response: "I bet they have the valid sticker in their glovebox". I heard this same response more than 30 years ago when I was studying at UBC. One of my classmates drove his car uninsured. I went to the RCMP on campus. That's the same response I got. So if I believe in what he said, I would I stop buying insurance now and laugh all the way to the bank. ICBC and police would tell you it is an offence with $568 penalty. But that only is a penalty if someone actually ticket you or you actually go to renew your insurance.

Insurance cost is mounting in BC. $568 may be the cost of some new drivers or drivers with poor claim history. It is a very worthwhile proposition for not buying insurance because the likelihood of being caught is slim to nil in the lower mainland. Police would always believe you have valid decal in your glovebox. Treo has stopped collecting toll charge on Port Mann Bridge for over one year. There is an outstanding balance of about $15 million. ICBC is helping to collect them. If people owing are renewing their yearly insurance, you think it would be that much outstanding. May be there really are so many drivers moved away from BC or stop driving their vehicle in the last 12 months. Or may be there are a lot more than $15 million outstanding between the toll charges and uninsured vehicles on the road.

One post in this same website even commented his father-in-law got stopped for a minor violation, got a ticket, went home and discovered his insurance had expired (honest mistake) for six months. He wondered how come the officer did not ticket him for driving without valid insurance. I wonder too. But I am not surprised. In the last 30 years they learned to believe insurance decal can be kept in the glovebox.


Drivers attitude has deteriorated in the last twenty to thirty years. BUT so as the attitude of the police officers.

So instead of asking some of these drivers to have a sudden awakening moment and change their attitude why don't the so called law enforcement changed their first?

Let these drivers know they behaviors were not tolerated. There are consequences. A letter from the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, a visit by officer or a potential ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle especially when video evidence is available. Don't use the excuse that these people would spend money to fight the tickets.

Some of these drivers attitude would be changed because they know there are consequences they have to face.  Why wait for next incident. Hopefully you are there to ticket him. You're sure his next violation would not cause someone's life? You're sure he would not cause death to pedestrians and other drivers? You're sure he would not fleet the scene of the accident?  Or you are sure they will hire a lawyer and the court would rule in favor of them?

If the law enforcement continues this kind of attitude, I CAN imagine how unsafe it would be driving on the road and walking on the sidewalks in the lower mainland in the next twenty years. 

I respect the government authorities by default. The law enforcement officers earned their disrespect though.

This slacking attitude of the police forces came from the top.

Before law was passed to make 'hogging the left lane' on BC highway a violation, I heard on AM1130 an interview with Ian Tootil of SENSE BC saying how unsafe it was for this practice. The Head of Police Chiefs responded this practice was not ticketed because the justice system would not make it enforceable. Yes. Blamed it on the legal system. Months later, the law has passed to make it a violation. The Head of Police Chiefs commented also on AM1130 the offence was of low priority. Yes. I heard it loud and clear and so as many of my friends who I introduced them to listen to AM1130 for traffic conditions updates. That's the attitude from the top that has to change.

They focus on how they can come up with reasons why not to enforce certain laws but ignore all the good reasons of enforcing them.

A comment on pulling back in after passing is especially bad when they pull back in front of you too soon when the road is slushy and has sand on it. They spray your car with road crap making it very unsafe to drive - this is especially bad on a four lane hwy where there is no reason for them to pull back in so quick.

Thanks for the synopsis of pet peeves.

I seem to recall a "Point Your Way to Safety" campaign decades ago, but I can't honestly remember what Province I was living in at the time. Sure makes sense to me, especially along Hammond Bay, where bus stops are right at intersections.

I don't know how many people I stopped for, when we first moved here, who were right at the edge of the roadway, and just stood there, while I stopped and waited for them to cross. They were actually just waiting for a bus.

Elderly on the other hand, seem to stay way back from the road edge when they DO want to cross. No one knows that is their intent. A uniform advertising campaign as to Pedestrian Crossing protocol would be useful to get everyone on the same page.

I am up in N Alta (Manning) and was talking to my son, about a "speeder" who got nailed about 100 yds in front of me, just after passing me on a 35 km straight road between Whitecourt and Peace River.

Nice safe pass, lots of room in front of me before pulling in.

She had no sooner pulled back in than an oncoming white Pick Up lit up the Blue & Red.

Neither my son nor I like to spend more any time in the oncoming lane than we have to when passing, and certainly boot it up over the limit to minimize that time, and still be able to move sufficiently ahead of the passed vehicle for safety (and courtesy), especially in short zones.

I got nailed a few years ago, on my way back from here, after passing a vehicle towing a boat. The driver also made your list of Pet Peeves, as one who booted it way - way up in straight passing zones, then dropped way back below the limit for hills and curves. I passed him on a very short (5-600 yards) two lane up-hill zone, and got nailed at the top, rounding a right hand curve just after the merge.

I didn't argue with the cop. He saw what he saw.

As I see it : the Legal way to pass another vehicle, is most often NOT the safest.