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Behind-the-Wheel

Be better than average

My name is Tim and I'm a bad driver.

I don't try to be a bad driver, quite the opposite in fact. I try to do my best when I get behind the wheel. However, being human, I occasionally fail. So do we all.

I hope that sets me apart from drivers who don't know any better, drivers who let their skills slip and drivers who really don't care.

We're about a month into ICBC's newest road safety campaign Know Your Part, Drive Smart. The idea is that everyone has a part to play in navigating traffic safely and you should know what your part is.

Central to the campaign is the Drive S.M.A.R.T. quiz

You are presented with 12 questions on road rules and driver attitude. Any experienced driver who reads carefully, considers the four possible answers and makes their choice should earn total bragging rights. That's 12 questions out of 12 correct.

Would you like to brush up? You can also take a Practice Knowledge test or a Road Sign test. These are a little more comprehensive but again, if you are an experienced driver, you should get them all right.

Since we are all better than average drivers, I'm curious about how much participation the campaign has attracted.

Perhaps the only drivers who might honestly claim that they don't know any better are those that have been driving for a long time and have never bothered to update their skills and knowledge.

This is not an excuse. You must Know Your Part in order to participate safely and correctly rather than expecting others to allow for you.

Some of us neglect our parts through sloppy application of skills or by taking short cuts that we feel are harmless. Don't let that become your default setting.

Failing to stop completely at a stop sign or taking liberties with the speed limit increases everyone's risk. You may be comfortable deciding your acceptable level of risk, but I don't appreciate you taking liberties with mine.

That leaves us with the drivers who I hope make up a small minority, those that don't care or deliberately decide to break the rules. These are the drug-and-alcohol impaired drivers, distracted drivers, prohibited drivers and any driver who decides that any driving rule doesn't apply to them if they don't want it to.

Sometimes the only way to stop them is to put them in a cage.

A related item in the news right now is our insurance rate. ICBC will be raising it 6.4 per cent in the coming year if the increase is approved in order to cope with both rising collision rates and rising claims costs.

Paul Hergott wrote an interesting article suggesting one solution to ICBC's rate hike.

He asks the question "What if an absent-minded driver who crashes into the back of a stopped vehicle had to reach into their pocket and pay the first $5,000 of their victim’s losses?"

Maybe we would pay more attention and avoid crashing into things.

It's not that simple, but it does show that we may feel that the consequences of our errors are covered by our insurance so we don't need to Drive S.M.A.R.T. all the time.

Should bad drivers be shamed publicly? With dash cameras and social media, everyone can publish examples of bad driving that might shame a driver. Shame is a powerful motivator to improve.

Perhaps the simplest way is just to decide to do it on your own.

Read:

You could even take lessons with a driving school. Lessons are not just for beginners.

Story URL: http://www.drivesmartbc.ca/behaviour/my-name-tim-and-im-bad-driver



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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



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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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