#DriveSmartBC – Stay Between the Lines

 

Traffic IslandOne sure sign of growing up when we were young was the ability to use our crayons and colour between the lines. An important skill for a “grown-up” driver is also the ability to stay between the lines. Judging by the e-mails that I continually receive from readers who state that this is their main pet peeve, there is a sizable number of drivers out there who need to do a bit more skill improvement.

Staying centered in your lane is not difficult. Here’s a beginner’s tip from the Tuning Up Guide:

The first thing you may notice as you begin driving in moderate traffic is that you have to stay in the centre of your lane. To start with, this is no easy task. The magic rule: look the way you want to go. If you keep looking 12 seconds ahead down the centre of the lane, your peripheral vision will help you centre yourself.

If you haven’t been on the inside of a curve lately and met an oncoming driver part way over the center line into your lane, a quick look at the lines painted on the road will tell you that many tires have passed over the paint and worn it away.

It shouldn’t matter if you cross over the lines when no one is coming should it? Well, it’s both illegal in that situation and will end up in a collision the first time you fail to see the oncoming vehicle. It will be really interesting if that driver is doing the same thing!

Perhaps more common still is the encroachment onto the shoulder when drivers go around a corner. This territory is the domain of pedestrians and cyclists, your vehicle does not belong there. It’s hardly likely that you would be injured or killed in a collision here but the same cannot be said for the unprotected shoulder users.

Should vehicles have to become smarter than their drivers? Your next new vehicle may have lane keeping assist to help you stay where you are supposed to be.

One side effect of this safety feature will be enforcement of signalling lane changes. If you fail to signal your lane change, the system will see this as a drift to one side and will take action to alert you.

Here in Canada, winter snow hides the lines on the road. Unless it is unsafe to do, your guide is the tire tracks left by the vehicles that have already been driven there.

So, show a little pride in your ability to be a mature, skillful driver. Keep your vehicle inside that 3.6 meter wide space between the lines. This will also show your respect for other road users and help to keep them safe. If you cannot, it’s time to put your crayons back in the box and let someone else do the driving.

References:

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

DriveSmartBC: Ten Questions and Ten Answers

 

e-mail iconIt’s time to deal with all the questions in the DriveSmartBC inbox that have not prompted an article of their own. Here are 10 of them, one of which initially stumped me too. I guess that goes to show that no matter how long you have been a licensed driver, there is still something that you can learn!

Michelle would like to remind drivers that there is a good reason that they must not park in front of crosswalks. She says that it should be obvious that children are short and can easily be hidden behind a parked vehicle where approaching drivers cannot see them. If we educate drivers about the 6 meter distance, they will understand and stop parking too close.

Dax wants road users to make way for ambulances that display flashing red and white lights but are not using their sirens. While the law does not require it, this is another case where the minor inconvenience involved will benefit the people in need of  medical assistance. Why not yield?

Jeff wonders about a vehicle with Texas licence plates that is regularly parked on his residential street for the past 2 years. Should he report it to the police? The police do enforce the Customs Act and may be interested but I think that I would start with the Canadian Border Services Agency instead. Their Border Watch Line is interested in any suspicious cross border activities.

Clive wants to know if he can pull the sidecar of his motorcycle rather than attaching it to run along side. A sidecar is specifically exempt from being called a trailer and requiring a separate licence plate and insurance. If you pull it behind it is no longer a sidecar and would be considered to be a trailer.

Paul’s wife is undergoing chemotherapy and he wants to keep his outside contacts to a minimum to protect her. His B.C. driver’s licence is expiring and he wonders if he can just use his Mexican driver’s licence instead of going to the driver service center to renew. If Paul is ordinarily resident in B.C. he must have a B.C. driver’s licence. When he applies for it, he is required to surrender any driver’s licence that he holds from another jurisdiction.

Dave was messing around with the guages on his ‘Vette and failed to note that he had changed his speedometer to read in mph instead of km/h. You guessed it, he was ticketed for driving at 159 km/h and the ‘Vette was impounded. He wanted to know if he explained the inadvertent change to the traffic court justice, could he have the excessive speed charge set aside? Sorry Dave…

Melody was riding in a group of 4 motorcycles. If they all stopped side by side at the stop line in one lane, could they all leave the stop sign at the same time when it was safe to go? In B.C. it is not legal to operate more than two motorcycles side by side in a lane unless they are passing, so there should never be 4 motorcycles side by side in the same lane at a stop sign.

Will raised a concern that taught me something. He showed a picture of a highway marked with a sign that said No Lane Change for the Next 2 Kilometers yet the roadway was marked with a single broken white line. The direction on the sign overrides the permission indicated by the broken line.

Lisa literally ran afoul of a low mounted bicycle carrier on the rear of a pickup truck while trying to enter the parking space behind it. She did not think she should be found at fault for the collision because the carrier was sticking back into the parking space that she wanted to use. The carrier was there to be seen. If your vehicle does not fit in the space, you will have to find another space.

Curt wants to know if a passenger can be charged for using a mobile device while in a moving vehicle. Our distracted driving rules only apply to the driver so the passenger need only worry if the mobile device somehow interfered with the driver. Even then I’ve investigated a collision where the passenger yanked the steering wheel causing the driver to lose control and the Crown refused to proceed with charges.

Do you have a question that you would like answered? Send me an e-mail and I’ll add it to the queue.

CounterAttack roadchecks targeting impaired drivers on now

CounterAttack roadchecks targeting impaired drivers on now

Although COVID-19 has changed many things, it hasn’t changed the law – if you plan to drink, don’t drive. Police will be setting up CounterAttack roadchecks across the province while taking necessary pandemic-related safety precautions to get impaired drivers off our roads.

With many restaurants and pubs reopening and Canada Day this week, ICBC, police and the B.C. government are urging drivers to plan ahead for a safe ride home if your activities involve alcohol.

Every year, on average, 68 people are killed as a result of impaired driving, with 40 per cent of those deaths happening in the summer.*

During the pandemic, alcohol consumption increased as more people were drinking at home. To encourage physical distancing and outdoor socialization, some municipalities are allowing alcohol consumption in parks and at beaches. Whether you’re drinking at home or out with friends, please be responsible and don’t drive.

While much progress has been made, impaired driving remains the leading cause of criminal death in Canada and in the top three contributing factors for fatal crashes in B.C.

If you’re hosting a celebration this summer (remember to keep it within Provincial Health Officer guidelines) and plan to serve alcohol, get an ICBC special event permit kit for free on icbc.com. It’s also available when you apply for an event liquor permit at BCLiquorStores.com. The kits include items to encourage designated drivers to stay sober and for guests to find a safe ride home.

ICBC supports two impaired driving education campaigns every year. Learn more facts and tips in ICBC’s infographic.

Quotes:

Bowinn Ma, MLA North Vancouver-Lonsdale

“We’ve made significant progress in making our streets safer from impaired driving over the past forty years, but too many people are still losing their lives. CounterAttack remains a key part of our provincial enforcement strategy to reduce crashes involving alcohol and drugs, and make our roads safer for British Columbians.”

Superintendent Holly Turton, Vice-Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Summer is here and so are Summer CounterAttack campaigns, so more police will be on B.C. roads checking for impaired drivers. If your plan includes consuming alcohol or cannabis, plan ahead: get a ride home with a friend, hail a taxi, or take the bus. There is no excuse – including COVID-19 – for driving under the influence, and our priority is to prevent and catch drivers who put themselves and their community in danger. Injuries and deaths from impaired driving are completely preventable, and we all have a responsibility to do the right thing.”

Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC President & CEO

“When you drink and drive, you not only risk your life but those of others on the road. We all need to do our part to prevent crashes and drive smart. If you plan to drink, plan ahead for a safe ride home.”

Regional statistics*:

  • On average, 16 people are killed and 830 injured in 1,500 impaired driving related crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.

  • On average, 11 people are killed and 320 injured in 600 impaired driving related crashes on Vancouver Island every year.

  • On average, 22 people are killed and 390 injured in 660 impaired driving related crashes in the Southern Interior every year.

  • On average, 20 people are killed and 190 injured in 310 impaired driving related crashes in North Central B.C. every year.

Canada Day statistics**:

  • Each year on Canada Day, one person is killed and 190 injured in 710 crashes in B.C.

  • Each year 130 people are injured in 430 crashes in the Lower Mainland on Canada Day.

  • Each year 24 people are injured in 110 crashes on Vancouver Island on Canada Day.

  • Each year 24 people are injured in 120 crashes in the Southern Interior on Canada Day.

  • Each year seven people are injured in 42 crashes in the North Central region on Canada Day.

Editor’s note:

Lower Mainland media are invited to attend evening CounterAttack roadchecks this weekend in Vancouver. Media can contact VPD Sgt Rob Gough at 778-839-0294 for July 3 details and VPD Sgt Brian Trklja at 604-760-8104 for July 4 details. Please call after 9pm that day to confirm location.

Notes about the data:

*Injuries and crashes are police data, five-year average 2015 to 2019. Fatal victim counts are police data, five-year average 2014 to 2018. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.

**Canada Day is calculated from 00:00 to midnight and includes incidents where the time was not reported. Based on five-year average. Injured victim and crash data from ICBC data (2015 to 2019) and fatal victims from police data (2014 to 2018).

Keep motorcyclists safe by sharing the road, urges ICBC

Keep motorcyclists safe by sharing the road, urges ICBC

June 16, 2020

With warmer weather upon us, more riders will be hitting the road. Summer is also the time when the majority of motorcycle crashes occur. In fact, on average, seven motorcyclists are injured every day in July and August. That’s why ICBC is urging everyone to expect more riders on the road and to share the roads safely with them.

On average, 1,600 motorcyclists are injured and 37 are killed in 2,500 crashes every year in B.C.

Motorcyclists can be difficult to see – especially if you’re not actively looking for them. The most common contributing factors police assign to drivers who hit motorcyclists are distracted or inattentive driving and failing to yield the right-of-way.

It’s important that both drivers and riders practice safe driving to keep our communities safe. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or driving a vehicle, we all need to do our part to prevent crashes and avoid putting additional pressure on first responders and medical resources.

Tips for drivers:

  • Stay focused and avoid distractions that take your mind off driving and your eyes off the road.

  • Scan intersections and look for motorcycles. When turning left, look carefully for oncoming motorcycles.

  • Look for motorcycles before changing lanes. Due to their smaller profile, motorcycles can be harder to see, and fit more easily into your vehicle’s blind spots.

  • Make a game of looking for motorcycles while you drive. Have each person in your vehicle guess how many riders you’ll see during the drive and then count them as you go. It’s a great way train yourself, and your passengers, to look for motorcyclists.

  • Give lots of space when passing a motorcycle and allow at least three seconds following distance when you’re behind a motorcycle.

Tips for riders:

  • Get training – whether it’s in preparation for getting a licence, or to refresh your skills.

  • Practice, practice, practice – find an empty parking lot, set up cones, and practice your turning, low-speed manoeuvres, and emergency braking skills, so they’ll be second nature when you need them on the road.

  • Don’t ride more bike than you can handle. Choose a motorcycle that is a fit for your experience and skill ability. It’s important to be familiar with the handling characteristics of your ride and be able to safely manage it.

  • Choose to wear safety gear designed for riding, especially gear that not only protects you from the road, but also gives you the best chance of being seen. Bright colours and reflective materials are best.

  • Protect yourself from serious injury by always wearing a helmet that meets or exceeds legal requirements. Full face helmets offer the best protection. At a minimum, look for a helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE safety standards.

If you’re interested in getting your motorcycle licence, COVID-19 restrictions have been eased and you can now book an appointment for your knowledge test and motorcycle skills testing.

If your learner’s licence (class 6L) expired on or after March 17, then your first requalification test fee of $15 will be waived. If you are unsuccessful, you will need to book another appointment to reattempt the test. Regular fees will apply.

Get more driver and rider tips on icbc.com and the latest information on road test bookings at icbc.com/covid-19.

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, 800 motorcyclists were injured in 1,300 crashes in 2018. On average, 13 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • On Vancouver Island, 330 motorcyclists were injured in 500 crashes in 2018. On average, seven motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • In the Southern Interior, 300 motorcyclists were injured in 380 crashes in 2018. On average, 14 motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

  • In the North Central region, 47 motorcyclists were injured in 57 crashes in 2018. On average, four motorcyclists are killed in crashes each year in the region.

*Motorcyclist incident and injuries in B.C. based on ICBC claims data (2018). Includes incidents in parking lots and incidents involving parked vehicles; and excludes crashes involving out of province vehicles.

Motorcyclist fatalities in B.C. based on police-reported data (2014-2018). Includes low-speed motorcycles (scooters, mopeds and trikes).

Road tests for certain types of driver licenses set to resume in B.C.

VANCOUVER _ The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is resuming on-road testing for commercial licences but drivers waiting for passenger vehicle tests must hold on a little longer.

In line with B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, the corporation says commercial road tests resume next week and appointments can be booked starting Thursday.

The tests are for drivers seeking licence endorsements ranging from a Class 1, which is operation of a semi-trailer, to Class 4, which covers school buses, ambulances, taxis and limousines.

ICBC says a decision about tests for other licence types, including Class 5 passenger vehicle licences, depends on the effectiveness of the first phase of testing and access to enough protective gear.

Examiners will use a combination of masks, shields, goggles, gloves and disposable seat covers when doing the tests.

Those taking the tests will be asked several health questions and must wear a supplied medical-grade mask during the test.

ICBC suspended all road tests on March 17 because of the pandemic.

Nicolas Jimenez, the corporation’s president and CEO, says the safety of its customers and employees is the top priority.

“We have taken a thoughtful approach to develop a plan that allows us to resume road tests in the safest manner possible,” he says in a statement.

“Customers have been eager to see these services resume and we’re happy to have found a way to do so safely.”

Some knowledge tests, required in advance of a road test, resumed on May 4. The corporation expanded its approach on June 1 by including knowledge tests for all types of licenses.

 

I just got a speeding ticket for going 20 km/h over the limit, even though other people on the highway were going a lot faster. Will it affect my insurance rates?
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