A comedy of errors

Last week, ICBC rolled out a new road safety campaign called Drive Smart.

It's aimed at increasing driver knowledge, promoting staying focused while driving and looking out for the safety of other road users. There is also a special social media hashtag: #KnowYourPartBC.

Two online quizzes help identify gaps in driving knowledge.

You can test your general driving skills or road sign recognition by answering 25 multiple choice questions. If you need to brush up a bit after, you can review Learn to Drive Smart and Tuning Up For Drivers on line as well.

If you are a motorcyclist, the Learn to Ride Smart and Tuning Up for Riders guides are only a click away.

Do you pull a trailer? Towing a Recreational Trailer is your reference guide.

Probably the biggest hurdle this campaign will have is overcoming the Better Than Average Driver bias. Drivers must believe something lies within their control before training will influence their decisions. 

If a driver is receptive to change, there is probably always room for some improvement. Even though we may have been driving for many years, errors and omissions creep into our daily driving routine.

This was highlighted for me when I arranged for a driver to trade his speeding ticket for driver training. Identifying his shortcomings coupled with a willingness to improve did more for road safety than the speeding ticket alone in my opinion.

That kind of attitude is what must be developed to replace the "me first!" outlook held by many who share the road with us. See - Think - Do is often short circuited by selfishness.

A prime example of this kind of behaviour does not take long to find.

On my last trip, about two thirds of traffic was jammed into the left lane, all travelling slightly over the speed limit. Most failed to allow for safe following distance and the pair just in front of me was joined by a pickup pulling a boat on a trailer.

Rather than move to the right lane, both cars continued in the left lane, seemingly oblivious to what was behind.

That didn't deter the pickup driver. He just moved up to within about a parking space length of the second vehicle and sat there waiting for the other two to get out of his way.

Is this deliberate intimidation, overconfidence or simply a failure to appreciate the risk?

The failure of the two other drivers to move right is either a mistaken act of entitlement or a failure to effectively monitor traffic and adjust accordingly.

Can the latest campaign help overcome a comedy of errors like this one?

Yes, especially if we realize that the problem includes us all and we resolve to do something to improve.

Story URL: http://www.drivesmartbc.ca/behaviour/comedy-errors


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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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