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Driving Etiquette

Driving Etiquette

August 27, 2020

As we approach the final days of August and families prepare for their final road trip of the summer, it’s an opportune time to remind drivers that the rules of the road apply to every one of us.

It goes without saying that all drivers should obey the law but applying common sense and displaying a level of common courtesy are also key factors that can help keep everyone who occupies our roads and highways safe. It is in this spirit that I have prepared the following short list of driving actions that we should all be conscious of:

1. Speeding is the leading cause of accidents. Plan your trip by giving yourself plenty of time to get from point A to B, and build in time for breaks.

2. Don’t tailgate. It’s dangerous and anxiety-inducing so back off and drive at a safe distance. Likewise, give motorcycles lots of extra space because a rear-end accident can prove fatal for a motorcyclist.

3. Use the zipper method. When merging into traffic, use the zipper method to help ease congestion and driver frustrations, by combining the two lanes in a zipper like left-right-left-right.

4. Don’t Hold Up Traffic by very slowly passing other Vehicles. Pass only when you have enough speed to do so quickly and safely.

5. Stay in the right lane except when passing. No one loves being held up on the highway because another driver is camped out in the left lane doing exactly the speed limit. Move over to the right or middle lane and let faster traffic get by. Plus it’s the law in BC!

6. Use your turn signal. The turn signal is to let other drivers know in advance that you plan to merge or turn – so use it.

7. Pull Over for Emergency Vehicles Ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars have ear-piercingly loud sirens and bright flashing lights. Don’t be one of those drivers who pretend not to notice. Get out of the way.

8. Yield to pedestrians. This should go without saying, but be watchful and let pedestrians cross.

9. Make room for cyclists. Give them space on the road, even if that means waiting to drive around them until oncoming traffic subsides.

10. Curb Your Road Rage. We all have places to go and mistakes happen, so take a deep breath. At the same time, thank helpful drivers in traffic with a wave. That sort of recognition shows goodwill and might encourage them to be more courteous in the future.

There are obviously other actions that have legal and serious safety implications and are absolute no-no’s for drivers. Don’t drive after consuming drugs or alcohol. Don’t use your electronic device or phone when behind the wheel. And, don’t ever leave kids or pets unattended inside a hot vehicle.

As we approach the Labour Day Weekend, there are areas of the province that remain hot spots for fire activity so please don’t carelessly discard cigarettes. Check your route ahead for areas with possible construction or fire fighting activity. DriveBC is a helpful resource (https://www.drivebc.ca/).

Let’s be calm, considerate and enjoy the last gasp of summer by enjoying the road – spending quality time with friends and family, and most importantly, staying safe.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca

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