Hergott: Safe driving behaviours

Lawyer Paul Hergott writes about second nature “every time” behaviours on the road

Two readers added to the list of safe driving behaviours I had offered last week.

These are behaviours, like looking at mirror blind spots behind your vehicle before reversing, that you can get away without doing most of the time. But then you’re rolling the dice on causing another tragedy like the death of the baby at the drive in on Montreal’s South Shore last month.

To stop rolling the road safety dice, they must become second nature “every time” behaviours.

The important driving behaviour Andrew contributed comes up if you are waiting for a red light to change to green. Don’t treat the light change “…as if it’s some kind of ‘green go’ for the Grand Prix”, but instead take a moment to ensure it is safe to proceed before hitting the gas.

He specifically mentioned the possibility of a crossing vehicle blowing their red light or a late starting pedestrian who hasn’t made it fully across. There are all sorts of circumstances, including emergency services vehicles that can pop up any time, that can result in tragedy if you don’t take that moment.

Most of the time you can drive as if in a zombie trance following traffic lights and signals. And many drivers do. If you blindly expect that the intersection will be clear for you when the light turns green you are rolling the road safety dice.

Please follow Andrew’s lead, while heeding his warning: “Of course always be prepared for the dim wit behind who slams their hand on the horn because you have not raced away on the green”.

Michael’s contribution has to do with signaling for a right turn.

I share Michael’s pet peeve about drivers who fail to signal their intention to turn.

If you are going to turn off the roadway, out of the way of traffic that is waiting for you so they can proceed, failing to signal your intention (or waiting until the very last moment before you start your turn) is not only unlawful and potentially dangerous, it is discourteous.

It is discourteous because your laziness or sloppiness, however you categorize it, makes others wait.

But Michael’s road safety contribution is the opposite problem. Says Michael: “…but even worse are the drivers who signal a right turn, then proceed to drive straight through.” His road safety behaviour: “I always wait until I see the vehicle commit to a turn before I start to drive forward.”

Most of the time you can absent mindedly assume that other road users will follow through with their signaled intentions. But doing so is rolling the road safety dice.

By waiting a couple extra moments to see clues like the vehicle slowing or shifting position in the lane, you can assess whether the signal is intentional or has been absent-mindedly left on. And being on high alert will decrease your reaction time if the signaling driver changes their mind at the last moment.

Some of us learned these behaviours when beginning to drive, from our parents or in driving courses. Some were learned “the hard way”, through the experience of close calls or actual collisions.

Our roadways would be safer if the road safety behaviours listed in the last two columns became second nature for everyone. If you have any ideas about how to raise awareness and reinforce the adoption of these behaviours, or have more to add to the list, please e-mail me.

Missed last week’s column?

Hergott: Don’t villainize those involved in tragedy

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon students get course in financial literacy

Credit union liaison teaches students about everything financial to help them plan their futures

Vernon stores part of company holiday food drive

Donate food or cash until Dec. 24 at Wholesale Club or Superstore

Vernon runner third at nationals

Robyn Poulin wins bronze in masters women’s race, gold in age group; handful of local runners compete

New management team for Vernon Upper Room Mission

Trio introduced at open house as they share their goals and vision for the Vernon facility

Kelowna blanks North Okanagan Knights

Both goalies were game stars Saturday in the Chiefs’ 3-0 win

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

West Kelowna house fire demonstrates danger posed by candles

West Kelowna Fire Rescue says an unattended candle caused the Sunday afternoon fire.

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Mitchell’s Musings: Not to be taken internally, seiously?

Common sense needed more than warning labels

Most Read