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Poor Driving Habits

Poor Driving Habits

November 7, 2018

By Blair Qualey
Published by Post Media

As weather patterns change, roadways are becoming slick as they are greeted by rain or snow, depending on where you live. It’s also dark earlier and traffic tends to move at a slower pace. And while many drivers will take a little extra time to get to their destination and adopt a more cautious approach (recommended!), unfortunately that does not extend to every motorist.

All too often there are close calls or worse because drivers are speeding or simply not adhering to some of the very basic rules that accompany the responsibility that comes with getting behind the wheel. It is in this spirit that I have prepared my personal list of the top-10 worst driving habits, in no particular order:

1. Speeding: It goes without saying that as road conditions deteriorate over the course of the fall and winter, speeding is the leading cause of accidents. Slow down and build in additional time to get to your destination.
2. Accelerating through yellow lights as they turn red: Slow down as you enter an intersection to determine whether it is safe to proceed on a yellow light – don’t accelerate as it simply increases the chance of an accident if you need to apply the breaks or maneuver to avoid another vehicle.
3. Not using your turn signals properly: Turn signals are intended to give fellow drivers warning that you intend to turn or change lanes. Signalling while you are already in the process of a maneuver defeats the purpose and poses a risk to you and other drivers.
4. Not checking blind spots: Drivers know that blind spots can be dangerous but not even trying to check them is more dangerous, especially when moving into another lane. Use your rear-view mirror and side view mirrors, along with a shoulder check.
5. Cutting other cars off: If you are changing lanes, be aware of other vehicles around you. Know your surroundings and the speed at which other vehicles are traveling so you don’t inadvertently cut another driver off.
6. Not merging properly: Use the merge lane appropriately, easing your way into traffic in a cautious manner, using the entire length of the lane if needed. Also, play nice at zipper merges (at bottlenecks, the rule of thumb is that drivers from each lane take turns entering the gap, like a zipper).
7. Tailgating: It should go without saying but keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, especially when road conditions are not at their best.
8. Using your cell phone: Stay focused on what should be your only consideration when behind the wheel of a car – driving. Leave your phone alone, it’s against the law.
9. Ignoring Stop signs: The signage says STOP. Enough said.
10. Ignoring pedestrian walkways: Slow down and look both ways when approaching a pedestrian walkway and allow a pedestrian to make their way through a walkway before proceeding.

It’s easy to be dismissive when presented with what may appear to be the obvious. However, numbers cited by ICBC, high-risk driving behaviours contribute to 43 per cent of all crashes that result in death or injury in British Columbia. “High-risk driving behaviours” include actions like failing to yield, ignoring traffic control, following too closely or improper passing.

As we get further into the winter season and road conditions worsen, take additional time to get to your destination, practice safe driving techniques, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

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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