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Behind-the-Wheel

Setting a bad example

It's not nice to take vicarious pleasure from the troubles of other drivers, but sometimes I can't help myself.

Yesterday, I found myself No. 3 in line waiting for a red light at an intersection. The vehicle in front of me was a shiny Porsche Boxster convertible driven by a mature male. 

The light turned green and he stalled it. By the time he had started it again, the light had turned red and we all ended up waiting for the next cycle. 

Most of us have probably done the same thing as some time in our motoring career and I kept my smile to myself lest I tempt Murphy and end up being an example.

The performance that came after the stall once my attention was focused on him was remarkable.

After the restart, he moved the front of his vehicle to the far side of the crosswalk to await the next green light.

This is bad form for two reasons:

  • it can put his vehicle past the inductive pickup controlling the signal
  • it makes life difficult for pedestrians


In this case, I drove over the loop and there were no pedestrians. Problem solved.

A long tractor-trailer combination was in the intersection waiting patiently to turn left ahead of us. The driver was unable to proceed until the signal turned green for us.

He began his turn and Mr. Boxster just could not wait. He looped out to the right and drove around the back of the trailer to make his left turn rather than wait.

Believe it or not, he could have been written a ticket for green light at intersection for this behaviour.

My final observation of this driver was his dust as he rapidly disappeared from view while I trailed along behind having waited for the truck to turn and followed the posted speed limit.

The only challenge to this performance was a driver who decided to stop for a hitch hiker. The stop was a sudden one, made at 45 degrees across an acceleration lane about half way along its length.

Fortunately, no one was following this driver too closely. Now, the acceleration lane was blocked while everyone loaded luggage and passenger.

This should not have happened for more than one reason. This section of highway is a freeway (schedule 1 highway) and stopping to pick up hitch hikers is illegal. It is also forbidden to be a pedestrian here unless you are attending to a broken down vehicle.

Are you surprised that our vehicle insurance rates are as high as they are?

Story URL: http://www.drivesmartbc.ca/behaviour/setting-bad-example-others

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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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