VIEWPOINT - Being the Best Driver in Victoria is Exhausting
It is impossible to drive anywhere in town without seeing blatant road law, rule and safety violations. ICBC needs (to be disbanded, and insurance be public first of all) to implement a refresher course at certain intervals for a VERY complacent driver base.
This isn’t just a rant, and definitely not hate, but I want to outline some daily occurrences I deal with and why they’re awful, and what you can do about it. I’ve been driving safely, defensively and confidently for 15 years accident free. I know everyone else is the best driver in Victoria to themselves as well. I’m also sure these aren’t just Victoria problems, I’ve just matured as a driver here for the past 8 years and have really become cognizant of it recently.
Anger doesn’t belong on the road. Years ago I realized this and switched from flipping people off, to a very disappointed thumbs down. I think it hits harder, differently and better. Instead of feeling attacked and getting angry, I hope people sense the disappointment in their selfish and ignorant driving and think about it, hopefully leading to change.
Solid white lines are there for a reason, generally in high activity spots where a lane change is unsafe. Crossing a solid white line with all 4 tires of your vehicle is a road violation (chapter 3, page 39 of Learn to Drive Smart). I’m looking at you Mckenzie overpass.
Being courteous is one thing, and of course a nice thing to do. Stopping in an active roadway to let someone turn in front of you (or let a jaywalker through) is unpredictable, and dangerous. Especially reckless if the person turning is crossing two vehicle lanes and a bike lane, which they cannot see, and in my personal experience I have seen avoidable accidents had the rules of the road been followed.
Speaking of cyclists, they exist. I dislike them as a whole, but they’re there. When I am a cyclist, I detest drivers, it’s just how it works. I’ve been behind a cyclist, on my own bike riding nicely in our lane, had a car leisurely pass us, and then turn right directly in front of the cyclist in front of me, who went head over heels over the trunk of this ignorant vehicle. Shoulder checks are a necessity for every right hand turn and lane change. And if you’re making a right turn and you have to stop and yield, don’t stop entirely in the bike lane as I see at pretty much every yield.
Commit to your mistakes. If you realize you’re in a turn only lane but you wanted to go straight, or miss your exit on the highway, don’t make it everyone else’s problem and cause an issue. Commit to your error and take another route.
Rolling stops are illegal, but we all do it, it saves gas and wear and tear on vital vehicle parts - it’s just economical. The ones that bother me are people ripping up to an intersection, blowing past the stop line, through the crosswalk and stopping exactly at the road they’re entering. This is unpredictable and looks like you’re just going to help yourself to the lane. I see a lot of people doing ignorant moves on the road because it just seems like they wanted to and it would be inconvenient for them to follow the rules.
Squeezing in that last left hand turn as the light turns red, and then promptly sitting in the intersection and blocking traffic going the other way. You’re not that important, wait a light cycle.
Large trucks need space to stop, that distance they’re leaving in front of them isn’t for you to squeeze in right in front of them and then slow down. I’ve seen several trucks lock their brakes completely up when someone decides they’re invincible and more important to dart in front of them, then slow down for the red light coming up.
Large trucks again, this “I’m bigger, I’ll win, I’m just going” attitude sucks. I have very little regard for my well being, and ZERO regard for my vehicle. If you squish me, that’ll be on your conscience. And all because you didn’t feel like stopping and starting again, or that light was inconvenient.
Merging - DEAR LAWD MERGING. I cannot believe the amount of Victorians who still blow merging, we’ve even got signs on merging lanes with printed instructions, pictures and everything. Get up to highway speed, pick your spot, turn signal on, end of the merge lane move confidently over into your spot. It is not the responsibility of the highway lane to brake, move or otherwise make a spot for you, the highway is minding its own business trying to stay at speed.
Parking. This goes back to ICBC’s refresher, or you as road users should take the initiative to practice. Head to a suburb, practice some parallel parking, it’s a skill, we live in a city with rapidly dwindling downtown parking. If you see a spot, signal, stop before it so traffic leaves you room, pull up and park.