Accidents do get you thinking. When you finally get behind the wheel again, as you’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep and in your dreams. It’s replayed over and over and over complete with enhanced audio and definitely in high def!
• In B.C., on average, more than 51,000 people are injured in crashes at intersections each year.
• About 60 per cent of all crashes in B.C. take place in intersections — that’s 241 every day.**
When you are sitting at a red light at the front of the line and the light finally goes green, what do you do? Are you looking straight ahead when you start to accelerate? I don’t. Before my car moves, I look left, then right to make sure no one is making a last dash through the red.
If you’re sitting at an intersection about to turn right on a red light do you always check the sidewalk on the right to look for pedestrians first before you make your turn?
As I approach every intersection on a green light I’m constantly checking to make sure no traffic looks like they will run the light or that no one is going to turn into my path.
According to I.C.B.C.I’m doing it right. Our insurance corporation says:
When approaching a trafﬁc light
• Even if the light is green as you’re approaching the intersection, assume it could change to yellow. That way you’ll be able to stop in time.
• One way to anticipate the light changing: check the pedestrian signals. In many newer intersections, the crosswalk signal will change from a white ﬁgure to an orange hand just before the light turns yellow, or will count down the seconds left before the trafﬁc light changes.
• If the light changes to yellow as you approach the intersection, check your mirrors and look around. Slow down well in advance of the crosswalk.
• Only go through a yellow light if it’s unsafe to stop.
• Don’t change lanes in an intersection.
When stopped at an intersection
• Always leave sufﬁcient space between you and the vehicle in front — a good rule is to leave enough space so you can see its wheels (about a car length).
• Keep your wheels straight when stopped, even if you’re waiting to turn.
• When the light turns green, check that the intersection is clear before you move forward — and that no one is running the red or jumping the green (counting to three works well).
It strikes me as funny when my wife is in the car. She’ll be enjoying the scenery and ask me about something we’ve just passed. She doesn’t seem to understand that I’m looking at traffic way down the road in front of me always monitoring conditions before they happen. Down the road, to my right and left and in all my mirrors. It’s constant and I really don’t have time to check the scenery. Driving is a full time proposition it gets my full attention.
I’m a firm believer that every driver on the road should have to spend time on a motorcycle. Motorcyclists very quickly learn to never trust any vehicle, that the conditions all around you can change in an instant and to be prepared for it. Motorcyclists have to pay attention all the time, it’s too bad all drivers don’t do the same.
It’s always better to take an extra 5 minutes to get home safely than it is to spend two months or longer recovering from an accident. I also know (the pain is still there) that no matter how careful I think I’m being, it’s still up to the other driver to equally pay attention.