Secret to avoiding accidents

An oncoming driver turns directly across your path.

You don’t have a chance. There’s only a split second between forward movement of the turning vehicle and impact.

You’re at full roadway speed. Add the acceleration of the turning vehicle and the impact is a dramatic one.

Life -ong consequences can flow from far less dramatic collisions. These crashes are life changers, if not enders.

If ever there was a preventable crash, it would be this one.

No special skill is required.

Open your eyes. Look for oncoming vehicles. If there is one: wait.

I’m not talking about scenarios where the straight through driver is pushing a yellow or blowing through a red light. Those scenarios have shades of grey. I’m talking about bright green lights and uncontrolled intersections where the left turner must simply wait for oncoming traffic to clear.

What should we do with those people?

With enough years of crash-free driving their insurance premiums won’t even go up. On what planet does that make sense?

But everyone’s premiums must increase to pay the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars required to fairly compensate that one driver’s innocent victims.

Do you feel pissed off about compensating the innocent victim? Walk a few minutes in their shoes and you’ll realized that no amount of money could fairly compensate such a life impact.

We need to get pissed off about the driver who was paying so little attention that he or she pulled out directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

But that offending driver just “had an accident.” That’s what insurance is for, no?

I believe in insurance covering you for accidents, if the word “accident” means a crash that could not be avoided by the exercise of the most minimal level of care and attention.

Cause a crash as a result of a gross level of inattention behind the wheel and I believe that you should suffer some very real consequences.

The “turn directly in the path of an oncoming vehicle” crash is only one example of a ridiculously avoidable crash.

Another is the rear-ender. Rear-enders are completely asinine. Open yours eyes and monitor what is occurring in front of you and a rear-ender will never occur.

But those rear-enders occur all the time, representing approximately 50 per cent of all of the compensation cases I prosecute.

What is our solution?

Driver skills training is clearly not the answer. It takes the most minimal level of skill to avoid these types of crashes.

Is it consequences? Might drivers pay more attention if they faced actual, impactful consequences for such gross inattention?

What about a new criminal offence of inattentive driving?

At the very least, these drivers should face the same consequences as those caught with alcohol in their system.

How about public awareness about the very severe consequences faced by the victims? Might that help increase our level of attentiveness behind the wheel?

I invite you to attend the sixth annual Kelowna commemoration of a day of remembrance for road traffic incidents. Yes, those losing their lives are remembered. But also those who are left with often life-long injuries.

By standing shoulder to shoulder with those left behind, and those living the lifetime of consequences, we might become motivated to deliver that modicum of care and attention behind the wheel that would prevent these crashes from occurring.

And we might become motivated to push others in that direction as well.

Nov.19,  at the Kelowna Waterfront Park, by the Dolphins, from noon to 2 p.m. Free hotdogs, face painting and other activities will help engage the next generation of drivers.

I look forward to seeing you there.


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About the Author

Paul Hergott began practicing law in 1995, in a general litigation practice. Of the various areas of litigation, he became most drawn to, and passionate about, pursuing fair compensation for injured victims. This gradually became his exclusive area of practice.

In 2007, Paul opened Hergott Law, a boutique personal injury law firm in the Central Interior, serving personal injury clients from all over British Columbia. Paul’s practice is restricted to acting only for the injured victim, never for ICBC or for other insurance companies.

Paul became a weekly newspaper columnist in January of 2007, when his first column entitled “It’s not about screwing the Insurance Company” was published. 

Please feel free to email or call Paul (1.855.437.4688) with legal issues you might like him to write about in his column, or to offer your feedback about something he has written.

Email:   [email protected]
Firm website:  www.hlaw.ca
Achieving Justice Legal Blog:  http://www.hlaw.ca/category/all-columns/
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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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