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Behind-the-Wheel

But I didn't know!

I often prowl through driving forums on the Internet searching for interesting topics of discussion. The following quote came from a site in Kelowna.

Sadly, not everyone knows the rules of the road and/or how to operate their motor vehicle correctly. Pressing the pedals and basic coordination is about as far as some people get.

We live in an age of readily accessible information if we have an internet connection and a bit of curiosity. The Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations are our official rule books.

Learn to Drive Smart and Tuning Up For Drivers are the starter guides for those of us who are starting our driving careers.

TranBC is a blog that carries driving tips and news from the B.C. Government.

The YouTube channel for Smart Drive Test delivers free driving lessons tailored specifically for B.C. Drivers.

Organizations such as the BCAA and SafetyDriven promote road safety on their web sites.

DriveSmartBC, Achieving Justice and the B.C. Driving Blog are good resources created by road safety advocates on their own.

I cannot think of a recent change to our provincial driving environment that has not been reported by traditional media or social media.

While the coverage may not be detailed or in the case of some social media posts totally accurate, at least one should have an idea that there might have been a change that affects you.

Shrugging your shoulders and saying to yourself that you either already know enough or will learn about it later on if you need to can be expensive.

The instance that brought this to mind was an inquiry from an Ontario visitor to our province. She had her cell phone in her lap and looked down to study the GPS map while she was in bumper to bumper traffic on the way to the airport.

When she looked up again she noticed flashing lights in her blind spot and received a ticket for distracted driving.

Her question to me concerned how she might successfully fight this ticket.

This might be difficult to accomplish as the rules in Ontario parallel those here in B.C. was my first response.

Well, I didn't know that and it's almost impossible to know all the rules of the road she said. If the cell phone is supposed to be secured in a holder, shouldn't the car rental company provide one?

The head-in-the-sand approach to learning will probably cost this lady at least the price of the ticket, which is currently $368. If she intends to dispute the ticket, she will either have to come back to B.C. to conduct her defence or hire a lawyer to act on her behalf.

Chances are very good that retaining counsel will be at least double the cost of the ticket itself with no guarantee of having the charge dismissed.

As with many other things in our life, we need to take possession of the issue and make sure that we have the proper knowledge and skills to be successful at what we undertake to do.

Making mistakes while driving has outcomes that range from damaging our bank account to damaging ourselves, our loved ones or the lives of other road users.

Article URL: http://www.drivesmartbc.ca/miscellaneous/i-didnt-know

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More Behind the Wheel articles

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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