|Friday, 08 October 2004 00:00|
Today, on our drive to Lonsdale Quay, we heard an interesting commentary from a DJ on a local radio station. He said that according to a recent study, it was discovered that the province of BC has the greatest incidents of "Road Rage" and of course, he joked about it. Now having spent the last five months here certainly does not make me an expert but as a newcomer to this province, I will share my observations.
There seems to be no sense of road etiquette here. For instance when a vehicle is merging from an entrance onto a highway, typically the drivers don't ensure that their way is clear. They seem to assume that the simple fact that they have their turn signal on, gives them the right to just move into the lane with no regard to the traffic already in that lane. Red lights are all but ignored and turn signals are used sparingly or at the last minute prior to the turn.
Another thing that drives me crazy is the speed that folks here drive. I touched on this once before but they will use any lane they choose regardless of the speed they are travelling. As a youngster, I spent four years in Germany with a jet pilot father who loved driving on the Autobahn, a fabulous highway notorious for it's lack of a speed limit. There were seldom, if any, car accidents because the German drivers understood proper highway etiquette. The passing lane (the far left one) is strictly for passing and the other two or more lanes go from the lowest speed on the right, progressing faster as you go left. If you won't or can't even go near a minimum speed... simply stay off the freeway! People here seem to assume that the fact that their wheels are turning gives them the right to drive in any lane on the multi-lane highway and they are completely oblivious to the mounting traffic behind them.
The BC government not only regulates the licensing here, but also the insuring of vehicles at a cost that is ridiculously high for the car owners. The highways are all in very good shape though very poorly planned and evidently the driver education programs are non-existent. It seems to me that more money needs to be spent educating drivers on road manners, proper etiquette and common sense, which in turn should reduce insurance costs. The driving traits I have observed are seen throughout Canada however there has to be some blame placed on the BC road infrastructure and the poor driving education system, which surely is a contributing factor.
By the way, here road rage is defined by something as minor as a simple hand gesture. So far, our only eyewitness account of road rage has been the proverbial middle finger signal and if that's as bad as it gets, I guess we can consider ourselves lucky.