Stop the presses! Icy roads don’t cause crashes; shitty drivers do

HERGOTT LAW – Icy Roads Don’t Cause Crashes

Hergott Law logoPaul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer that practices in Kelowna are regularly writes on road safety. One of his latest articles compares the newspaper headline “Dangerously icy roads lead to crashes” with “Deep water leads to drowning.” His position is that we need to grumble and complain about drivers who fail to use good winter tires and who overdrive the conditions. Not about the naturally occurring ice and snow.

I cringe every time I see these “fake news” headlines which all news media seem to be guilty of:

  • “Dangerously icy roads lead to crashes” (CBC – Nov. 15, 2017);
  • “Icy conditions causing havoc on Kelowna area roads” (Capital News – Dec. 3, 2017);
  •  “Icy road leads to crash” (Castanet – Nov. 4, 2017)

Do you ever see these analogous headlines:

  • “Deep water leads to drowning”;
  • “Watery depths cause havoc on the beach”; or
  • “Sunny weather leads to drowning death”?

Don’t they sound nonsensical!

Read Full Article Here: 

Source: DriveSmartBC

 

VIDEO – Roundabouts: Driving Lesson

Rick August of Smart Drive Test introduces us to the roundabout or traffic circle.

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 of 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

Restorative Justice: An Alternative to the Traffic Ticket

Scales of JusticeQuite some time ago I wrote about an initiative to trade your ticket for driver training. I was very pleased with the outcome of the one instance that I tried on my own, but the program never took off as the provincial government required the RCMP to provide it to all drivers if it was implemented. The Victoria Police Department is trying something similar through Restorative Justice Victoria.

An article in the Victoria Times Colonist reports that Cst. Sean Millard implemented his idea as a pilot project that exchanged a distracted driving ticket for a 3 hour restorative justice session on December 10, 2017.

32 drivers ranging in age from 20 to 60 chose to participate instead of paying the $543 fine.

These drivers completed cognitive tests that demonstrated how difficult simple tasks become when you’re distracted. They heard personal stories, including those of a retired firefighter who talked about having to pry people out of vehicles in crashes caused by distracted driving.

Karen Bowman, who founded Drop It and Drive ran parts of the workshop. In founding Drop It and Drive Karen developed a program delivery method to achieve behavioural change through imparting knowledge, science and practical, usable tools in a highly efficient and engaging manner.

Restorative justice helps people understand how their actions affect others to create long-lasting change. The programs, if they exist in your community, are run by volunteers.

Participation in a restorative justice program like this one starts with a referral by the police, and this is likely going to be the biggest hurdle. One traffic court judicial justice that I have spoken with commented on officer resistance to step outside the normal procedure for dealing with ticket disputes, even when suggested by the court.

Referral also depends on having an appropriate program in place with your restorative justice group along with the needed volunteers to deliver it. If you want to make a difference in your community, consider volunteering.

Starting with Road Safety Vision in 2001, Canada’s national road safety strategy contained public education initiatives and targeted high risk driving behaviour. Known as the Road Safety Strategy 2025 today, this restorative justice program neatly fits that target and recognizes that the traffic ticket is not the only way to change driving behaviour for the better.

Should we have to take drivers by the hand and explain to them that distracted driving is dangerous and they should not do it? I think not, but part of the problem is that we tend to let our behaviours change to suit our perceived risk. If you cannot leave your phone alone, then the more effective ways that there are to convince you that you should, the better off we’ll all be.

The “I Can Get Away With It” Mindset

Ticket WriterI’ve written before about the three Es of road safety, education, engineering and enforcement. The enforcement component was the subject of a comment to me concerning a visible police presence on our highways. The observation was that unmarked cars and what seems like minimal enforcement creates a “I can get away with it” mindset.

The fleet at the last traffic unit that I worked at consisted of seven vehicles: two unmarked, two “clean roof” and three fully marked cars. One of the unmarked cars was only available for enforcement work if the supervisors weren’t working or were otherwise occupied. Policy dictated the percentage of cars that could be anything less than fully marked.

The unmarked cars were popular even though they were relatively easy to identify as police vehicles if you were paying attention. Plain trim, black steel wheels and antennas on the roof tend to stick out.

Even so, you tended to find more bad driving behaviour patrolling in the unmarked car than you would when using a fully marked vehicle. My experience was also that I was able to deal with drivers that I did not see misbehaving otherwise.

Add an unconventional unmarked vehicle to the mix and it got more interesting. We were envious of a neighbouring traffic unit that had an unmarked pickup truck with a canopy. Drivers did all sorts of foolish things around it, probably because they did not associate it with active traffic enforcement.

Our supervisor often expressed his desire to see flashing lights at the roadside. He said that the public couldn’t tell whether we were writing tickets or warnings and the flashing lights served to remind them that if they didn’t behave, the next driver pulled over might be them.

This halo effect could be very short lived however. Occasionally I would entertain myself by leaving the radar running while I wrote a ticket so I was able to keep and eye on what was overtaking us. A vehicle would come into view travelling at a speed in excess of the limit, see the flashing lights and slow down. Sometimes they even slowed to a speed under the limit. After they passed by I would frequently see their speed creep back up to the initial speed over the limit before the vehicle went out of sight.

I wonder whether flashing lights deter bad driving behaviour or if it only discourages it in places where they are seen frequently. After all, it is some other driver that is receiving police attention, not you, so why worry?

My old patrol area consisted of about 350 kilometers of numbered highway. My shift partner and I more often than not were the only dedicated traffic enforcement present save for the overlap with the day or afternoon shift depending on which shift we were working. The chance of running into either one of us was slim and truthfully, became even slimmer the farther away you were from the detachment.

I don’t agree that unmarked cars are part of the visible enforcement deficit, but the scope of the job given the size of our province contributes to a feeling of minimal enforcement and an “I can get away with it” mindset.

Atlantic Canada braces for winter storms: IBC reminds consumers to be prepared

On the heels of the recent Christmas Day storm that knocked out power to thousands, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is encouraging Atlantic Canadians to prepare for rain, strong winds with severe gusts and heavy snowfall arriving in the region tomorrow. Environment Canada has issued warnings and special weather statements for several parts of Atlantic Canada.

“The first priority is to ensure the safety of yourself and your family,” said IBC’s Tom O’Handley. “That’s why we want to help make sure that Atlantic Canadians are prepared and ready for when bad weather strikes. Monitor local weather conditions, listen to local authorities, and have a plan in place to keep you, your home, and your family safe.  If you have any questions, contact your insurance representative or call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422). We’re here to help.”

Help protect your home when winter weather strikes:

  • Check your property for tree branches that may have been weakened from last week’s storm and try to mitigate and reinforce damage that has not yet been repaired
  • Secure Holiday decorations
  • Store valuable items in upper floors of your home, away from the basement.
  • Test and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Ensure your furnace, wood stove and any other heating sources are in good working condition.
  • Anchor interior and exterior fuel tanks to the floor or base with a tank stability bracket. A fuel tank can tip over or float in a flood, causing fuel to spill or catch fire. Make sure vents and fill-line openings are above flood levels. For propane tanks, contact the propane company on best storage methods.
  • Run water through all plumbing fixtures regularly to prevent freezing.
  • Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure proper functioning.
  • If safe to do so, check your eaves troughs and roof for potential ice dams
  • Prevent freezing of pipes by fitting exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
  • Review your emergency plan with your family.
  • Assemble an emergency supply kit, including being ready for 72 hours without electricity.
  • Prepare a detailed home inventory.
  • Pay attention to local authorities and monitor weather developments regularly.
  • If it is safe to drive, remember to slow down and drive for the road conditions.

When severe weather occurs, it is important for consumers to understand their insurance policies and to know what is covered. If damage occurs, IBC is here to help policyholders if they have any insurance –related questions.

Starting the claims process:

  • When safe to do so, assess and document damage.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company to report damage or losses.
  • Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • If you need help getting in touch with your insurer, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $52 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

10 Tips For Choosing The Best Motorcycle Gear

By Liz Jansen | Riders Plus Insurance 

It may seem counterintuitive to spend time and money on something you may never need. Yet buying the best motorcycle gear you can afford can be the wisest investment you make.

To help you, we’ve prepared a list of guidelines that apply to pilot and pillion. As a rule, keep the three “F’s”—fit, function, and fashion—in mind, in that order. If it doesn’t fit, even the best gear can’t do its job. Save your money.

Here’s what to look for when selecting jacket, pants, gloves, and boots.

1. Size. Try it on. Gear should be snug without being too tight or impeding built-in ventilation. In the event of a slide down the road, it’s more likely to stay in place on your body and give you the greatest protection. Look for adjustable waists to fit different sizes and accommodate layers. Zip-in linings extend the utility and take you through three seasons. Find a bike with a riding position like yours, sit on it, and assume the riding position. Make sure the gear is not constricting your movement or binding at knees, hips, or shoulders.

2. Length. Gear is designed to protect you while riding. Having it show off your good looks is secondary. Standing, your jacket and pants will look too long. While in your riding position, you want sleeves to cover your wrists. Make sure the jacket back is long enough to overlap your pants. Likewise, pant legs should cover your ankles.

3. Armour. The best gear has quality impact protection, like CE-rated (a European standard) D30. Look for jackets with extra coverage at the elbows, shoulders and back. Pants should be armoured at hips and knees. This protection will fall below the joint it’s protecting when you’re standing with arms at your side. Make sure it’s properly placed when in the riding position. Good gear will have adjustable pockets for armour at joints to allow for varying leg and arm lengths. You’ll want armour that can be removed when the garment is cleaned. Mid-shin height is best for boots, along with a reinforced shank and ankle protection.

4. Construction. Make sure seams are double or triple stitched and have a smooth finish. They’ll be more durable and resistant to popping open during a slide. Seams you feel when trying pieces on will be uncomfortable and distracting during use. Choose a boot with ankle protection, a steel shank, shifter pad, and toe protection. Choose oil-resistant soles and make sure they’re stitched on, not just glued in place.

5. Closures. Manufacturers use a variety of fasteners from zippers, laces, and Velcro, to snaps. Choose adjustable closures at wrists and neck. Although Velcro works anywhere else, stay away from it at your neck. It catches on helmet straps and degrades the material. Avoid laces on boots, unless they have an extra covering to prevent snagging. Velcro closures make boots easy to get on and off, while providing a snug fit.

6. Ventilation. On hot days, good ventilation is a lifesaver. Look for zippered openings on the chest and back to promote airflow. Underarm vents also add comfort. Big pulls make zippers easier to open and close with gloves while riding.

7. Visibility. Reflective surfaces, especially on your upper body, increase your conspicuity. While the larger the surface the better, piping, insets, and panels can all help. The reflections picked up by headlights may be what saves you from getting hit. Wearing a high-viz vest over your jacket is another option.

8. Water resistance. Ideally water proof. You’ll pay a premium for waterproof apparel but if you ride a lot, it’s worth it. Separate rain gear is the next best alternative. Removable waterproof linings sound practical, but I shun them. They’re hot, uncomfortable, and make you perspire. Because the moisture can’t escape, you end up just as wet as being in the rain. It’s also inconvenient to remove jacket or pants at the roadside and zip in a rain liner, or remove it. Rain still soaks exterior fabrics. They become soggy, heavy, and take time to dry.

9. Pockets. Easy to access interior and exterior pockets add much convenience. If your garment is waterproof, make sure the pocket seals are too.

10. Skills. Although listed last, sharp skills are the best protection you can have. But they’re not enough. Choose the best gear based on your riding style, budget, and how much you ride. Take your time, ask lots of questions, try it on and sit on a bike in a position like the one you ride in.

Determine which features are important to you and don’t settle for less. You’re making a decision about your safety so choose wisely.

Motorcycle show season will be here soon. You can get great deals on apparel, but nothing is a deal if it’s not going to protect you.

Source: Riders Plus Insurance 

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