Blame the driver, not the highway

After many horrific motor vehicle crashes in our province comes a call for highway improvements. For the most part, the call should be for driver improvements instead. Travelling past the site of one such recent incident in my neighbourhood it struck me that inappropriate speed, failing to maintain space margins, lack of lane discipline and poor communication needs to be improved before the highway does.

It almost goes without saying that the majority of the drivers have difficulty following speed limits. This is a particularly poor practice when the road conditions are not ideal, yet you will often see vehicles speeding and passing when traction is less than optimal. Travel speeds below the posted limit may be called for to maintain safe travel.

Space margins and lane discipline go hand in hand. Tailgating, changing lanes too closely in front of following vehicles and failing to maintain a clear space in the adjacent lane to leave yourself an out are commonly observed in daily driving. Add the inability to always maintain a proper lane position and the risk of collision rises.

When is the last time that you saw a driver who failed to signal? Chances are you see this every day. You may also notice that much of the signaling is done after the vehicle starts to make the signalled move. This is really wasted information as the signal needs to be made well before the move so that other drivers may prepare for it.

Before you complain about the highway, make sure it is not yourself that is the greater hazard!

The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.

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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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