Almost is NOT Good Enough
Twice in the last few days I have found oncoming drivers encroaching on my lane. There was no reason for it, such as an obstruction in their lane, that I could see. My conclusion is that they were either unable or too lazy to bother with staying completely between the lines.
In this and other common driving situations, almost is NOT good enough!
Even when there are no lines painted on the road, you are still required to stay in your own half of the roadway. Almost following sections 150 and 151 of the Motor Vehicle Act carry a ticketed amount of $109 and either 2 or 3 points respectively.
Now one has to wonder why failing to yield the left lane to faster traffic would be $167 and 3 points when it is really only an annoyance rather than a danger. One might expect dangerous violations to cost more and result in more points being assessed, but discussing inconsistencies in our penalties will have to wait for another article.
How often have you seen a driver stop with the front of their vehicle well into the crosswalk at an intersection? This behaviour can be hard on pedestrians and results in cross traffic having to decide whether to ignore or evade. Almost stopping before the crosswalk or marked stop line violates section 186 MVA and costs $167 and 3 points.
While we're on the subject of stopping, what about the drivers who choose the wrong pedal when the traffic light turns yellow? Almost stopping for a red light is contrary to section 129 MVA. The ticketed amount is $167, but there are only 2 penalty points.
Almost following the speed limit? The rare slow driver is vastly outnumbered by those who are over it and by significant amounts. Need I say more?
Turning at intersections requires that you approach in the proper lane, follow the correct path through the intersection and complete the turn in the appropriate lane. Almost doing this properly is dealt with by a $109 traffic ticket under section 165 MVA and 3 points.
A defensive driver always gives an adequate signal before starting, changing lanes or turning, even if the law does not require it. Almost telling others what you are going to do may contravene sections 151 ($109), 169 ($121) or 170 ($121) MVA. All are 2 point offences.
According to the results of the Drive Smart Refresher test, many experienced drivers do not know what a safe following distance is and that it changes for variations in road conditions. Almost leaving enough room is covered by section 162 MVA and costs $109 and 3 points.
So, do you almost think about other road users when you drive? Is it acceptable when others almost think about you? Please, repeat after me, almost is NOT good enough!
My observation is that it appears that almost is good enough until a Cop is driving somewhere close, as soon as said Cop is gone, almost is good enough again.
The Cop who pulls them over probably gets some comment about wasting time chasing the wrong guys too!
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Yes, most always I see drivers totally ignore where the painted stop block is, I don’t know how many times I have had to walk around someone in a crosswalk as they are stopped in it.
I was hit one day by a guy in a pickup truck who claims he didn’t see me. I didn’t get hurt thankfully but my conversation with him was he would have not bumped into me had he stopped at the painted stop block and not ignored the stop sign. I know this fellow and have seen him since and he did not learn that stop means stop and continues to roll through stop signs.
I took that driving test and shamefully failed, although just barely. My problem is from being from a small town we don’t see those traffic signs they have in the larger cities and admittedly should study up on them.
I took a Hazard Avoidance Instructors Course at the Professional Driving Center in Delta BC back in May 1980. I can tell you that course has stuck with me all these years. I took that course as part of my training operators position back before the privatization of highways. We had a Regional Driver Trainer we worked under. We as training operators would spend the time needed to train a driver for an upgrade to a class three or one and after we were satisfied we notified the Regional Driver Trainer and he then would do the practical and road test and if the driver was successful he then would issue that class of licence without having Motor Vehicles involved in the road test. I can tell you it was very successful.
Of course training is and has been a thing of the past with most highway contractors and I don’t know why Worksafe BC don’t follow up on the training records as they use too.
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None of that is enforced, yet a motorcyclist trying to enhance their own safety will result in an officer shutting down a bridge in rush hour traffic to apprehend a rider safely filtering through the hordes of distracted drivers that infest our roads. Logic.
So many problems here...
I can stop at the line, but I am going to have to pull forward, and likely stop again, to be able to see if it's safe to move forward. The corners in my neighbourhood are so cluttered, that's just a fact of navigating the situation.
I'm glad for the new rule on the highway of pull over if you're slow. People are unnecessarily causing congestion, otherwise. Rather than driving in a cluster on the Coquihalla, I prefer to have some space around me. The only way to get that is to be away from the crowd, or people will box you in.
And, yeah, I've nearly been hit by people in the opposite lane several times lately, as well. When there's no one around, I don't see why it should be a problem to drive in the middle, though, especially, again, where I live, in New Westminster. The roads are very narrow and you HAVE TO drive in the middle of the road if cars are parked on both sides, which is often the case. Surely you can't get a ticket for that. But then, we locals are basically trained to drive in the middle, at least on side roads. Also easier to miss the pedestrians that fly out from between parked cars so often.
Wish you could see the idiocy of our new bike lane tortured street. What a scary mess of not knowing who's coming from where. And I still be bikes on both the sidewalk and in the middle of the road. Maybe you can see it on Google Earth some day. Have a look at Seventh Avenue between 6th Street and 8th Street. (Eighth Street is sometimes called Canada Way.) Have you ever seen a mess like that?
Just because it's a rule or the government's latest invention, doesn't mean it's gonna work well.
Almost is NOT Good Enough
Going to be the devils advocate in this conversation. If I counted correctly I saw reference to 9 MVA regulations directly and mention of others.
I spent most of my working career doing contract work where we had numerous regulations that had to be adhered to. I was also hired to do contract inspections on others. In both cases 100% adherence was required. I started my working career working for the government and part of my employment was that we swore that we would uphold all regulations. We were not given the opportunity to pick and choose which regulations we were going to enforce. Or this month we are going to have a blitz on this section.
I don't know if police officers are asked to swear that they are going to uphold all the laws when they start working or not. But I do wonder how many of those 9 MVA regulations were enforced with the same consistency? Or are some more important than others?
Canada is far from the safest place to drive in the world. I do find it interesting though that when ever accidents are brought up that everyone screams on more speed enforcement. Yet just about every country that has a safer driving records than Canada have higher speed limits on the open highway. Could it be that our police officers (safety inspectors) have let their own biases influence the regulations of the MVA they enforce? Maybe if they were to concentrate on the 9 infractions mentioned in the above article instead of one just referenced that our accident rate could improve? Or enforce all to the same degree? Not just the ones they feel important?
There is another article here where it is agreed it is no imposition for officers to stop you and demand that one provide a breath sample and if you fail you can have your vehicle impounded immediately. Maybe we should change this slightly and have it that police can demand that you write a road test the same as you write to get your licence in the first place. If one fails that test your vehicle will be immediately impounded and your licence suspended.
There is one long weekend left this summer. For a change lets have the police concentrate on: