Stay Between the Lines

Traffic IslandOne sure sign of growing up when we were young was the ability to use our crayons and stay between the lines. An important skill for a "grown up" driver is also the ability to stay between the lines. Judging by the e-mails that I have received lately from readers who state that this is their main pet peeve, there is a sizable number of drivers out there who need to do a bit more skill growing.

If you haven't been on the inside of a curve lately and met an oncoming driver part way over the center line into your lane, a quick look at the lines painted on the road will tell you that many tires have passed over the paint and worn it away. It shouldn't matter if you cross over the lines when no one is coming should it? Well, it's both illegal in that situation and will end up in a collision the first time you fail to see the oncoming vehicle and will be really interesting if that driver is doing the same thing!

Perhaps more common still is the encroachment onto the shoulder when drivers go around a corner. This territory is the domain of pedestrians and cyclists, your vehicle does not belong there. It's hardly likely that you would be injured or killed in a collision here but the same cannot be said for the unprotected shoulder users.

So, show a little pride in your ability to be a mature, skillful driver. Keep your vehicle inside that 2.6 meter wide space between the lines. This will also show your respect for other road users and help to keep them safe. If you cannot, it's time to put your crayons back in the box and let someone else do the driving.

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Comments

Stay between the lines.

Well said.  This does seem to be an epidemic.

Thanks for addressing this

I'm not sure that it just a skill problem on curves as much as it is a speed problem. The tendancy seems to be to overcompensate for the centrifigal forces pushing the vehicle toward the outside of the curve. Just this morning on an 'S' curve I was heading downhill in a single lane while a vehicle in the oncoming left lane lane drifted into my lane. If he'd been in the right light lane, or just slowed down on the curve, he'd have probably been OK. Instead I had to brake and maneuver my car out of the way or a collision would have resulted. It was a near miss that left me shaken for a few moments. Somehow I don't think that he was as shaken as I was.

Colouring Between the Lines

This is a great analogy, and the worn lines are a great indicator of where this happens. On double left turn lanes I stay very close to the dashed white line, when in the lefne and find that it freaks a lot of drivers who are used to cutting the corner. Also, when turning into left turn lanes which open from a paied island, I ensure that i signal far in advancebut, still find others who cut accros the island feeling that I have cut them off by turning into a lane that did not exist prior to where I entered it. This issue is, in my opinion, the result of a lack of knowledge, caring, and concern for the rights or responsibilities of driving.

To me, BC drivers are far worse thaird Alberta, Saskatshewan, or Washington neighbours, and that driverthe Lower Mainland are far far worse than those in the balance of the province. Similar to the issue of no one feeling that they are a less than average driver, people confronted with their inability, lack of caring, or disrespect for other drivers and their own obligations, people ned negative reinforcement (monetary) to learn that they have to take driving seriously. In Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Washington there is a significantly more noticeable police pressence, and a visually greater number of vehicles ulled over, assumedly for traffic violations. We need a serious, sustained ticketing program.

With the province cedeing all monies collected to the municipalities, I fail to see where the municipalites are not concentrating their efforts on traffic and bylaw enforcement, both cleaning up the behaviours in their jurisdictions while bolstering their own coffers.

Police presence

I agree, more police presence would help remind drivers of their responsibilities. I've driven all over the Canada and the US and very rarely do I see a patrol car in BC (but I've said this before).

That said I was surprised last Saturday to find flashing lights as I crested a hill (above the 'S' curve mentioned above). A late model black truck was stopped, so I passed with care. About 5 K later, at the intersection of 3A and 97C, here comes the black truck just barreling down the road. There really isn't a way to pass but many drivers will opt to proceed right (which is meant to go southbound) and make a left turn to head northbound on 97C instead of proceeding left. As I was waiting for traffic to clear I saw the truck make his left turn and apparently accelerate past me. I'm going to guess that he wasn't stopped for speeding, or if he was he didn't care about the fine.

I honestly don't understand that behaviour.

Attention

Whether you pay attention or care is key.

Lanes and Lines

So here in the north, where snow is prevalent in winter, and the maintenance departments are budget driven, the snow is rarely cleared effectively.  We all still drive whether the streets are plowed or not, and we make our best guess as to where we should be.  For the most part, we are pretty good at not killing each other.  However, as time goes on, the lines become less and less discernible.  Then one day, the snow starts to move and the lines become visible once more, and we find out that on most corners, we are crossing the yellow centre line or the bike lane.  The "lanes" created by the vehicle tire tracks are still used instead of the true lanes, and you can see the tracks criss-crossing the lines for the length of the road.  My question is this:  if I follow the lane markings and stay in my lane, and the other vehicle follows the tire track "lane" and there is a collision, how would the MVA apply?  Who would be at fault for the collision?

Answer

Here's an odd rationalization

I have a friend who often cuts inside corners when driving. When I call him on it, he claims he does it on purpose as a defensive driving technique in case an oncoming driver cuts the outside corner. I remind him that the shoulder is for cyclists, pedestrians, etc. but he still thinks he's doing the right thing.

It's amazing how easily drivers will construct elaborate excuses for laziness or just plain poor driving.

Author of "Letters to a Driving Nation: Exploring the Conflict between Drivers and Cyclists." www.brucebutler.ca

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