Uninsured and on the road
While out for a walk the other afternoon I approached a driver who had stopped in his lane, in a corner, to talk to a couple of pedestrians on the other side of the road. Normally, this is a relatively quiet street but the driver is still making a poor choice. His action was unsafe due to poor sight lines for approaching drivers.
Sure enough, another vehicle approached from behind and was prevented from passing because the pedestrians had moved into the other lane to conduct their conversation more comfortably.
At this point most drivers would conclude the conversation and move on, or at least move to the right side of the road.
Not this driver. He pulled into the oncoming lane at a forty-five degree angle and continued with the chat!
As it happened, I was also walking by a driver waiting beside his parked dump truck and watching this situation too. I shook my head and mentioned to him that there were sure a lot of inconsiderate drivers to be found on our highways these days.
I had definitely touched a raw nerve here as the driver began to tell me all about the dangerous driving situations that he is put into by the drivers of light vehicles every day.
Chief among his worries were those who changed lanes in front of his truck and failed to leave a safe margin for following distance. Worse still, some of these drivers will apply their brakes and slow down for a right turn immediately after moving over. No sense anticipating that turn and falling in behind the truck to safely prepare for it, is there?
Why might this be important? A loaded heavy truck with a properly functioning braking system may have as little as half of the braking capacity of a car or light truck. These drivers may have put our trucker into a situation where he cannot slow or stop in time to avoid a collision.
I suggested that if there was nowhere safe to steer around the offending vehicle the truck driver might be faced with the decision to not to avoid the collision. No, he said, you would likely brake and finding that you could not stop in time automatically steer to avoid the crash.
Now there is little or no risk for our unthinking motorist and most or all of the risk settling onto the shoulders of our truck driver. This could be the ultimate selfish driving act performed by the driver of the light vehicle.
Before you start to complain about commercial drivers, think about the fact that in a collision between a heavy commercial vehicle and a light vehicle it is most likely that the fault lies with the light vehicle driver.
One parting piece of advice: remember the No Zone. This is the space around a heavy commercial vehicle where light vehicles are essentially invisible to the truck driver. Occupy them at your own risk!
1. Don’t Congregate.
Every major airline these days uses a numbered or zone system to help with their boarding process. Zone 1 boards before Zone 2, etc. And yet, as soon as the announcement is made that boarding is beginning, people from all zones bunch together in front of the jet bridge. That means that everyone in the first boarding zones has to weave through everyone in Zone 7, which just unnecessarily slows everything down. If you’re patient, step aside and wait your turn, you’ll actually get on the plane faster. Don’t worry – they won’t leave without you.
2. Bring The Right Sized Bags.
Nobody likes to check bags, me included. Not only is there an extra cost associated with checking your luggage, there is also the wasted time standing around the carousel waiting for your plane to be unloaded – that is, if your bag wasn’t somehow left behind. But because no one wants to check bags, that doesn’t mean you should jam everything you possibly can into a carry-on that then won’t fit in the overhead bins on the plane. No one wants to wait behind your in the aisle as you try and employ brute force trying to cram your bag in. If your bag is a little over-sized, then use this trick: before you get on the plane, go up to the gate agent and ask her to gate check the bag for you. Not only is this free, many times they will unload your bag plane side after your flight lands.
3. Sit Quickly
When you do get on the plane, make your way to your seat, pop your carry-on in the bin or under your seat (or both) and then take a seat. Ideally, you have already grabbed what you wanted with you on the flight before you got on the plane so that you aren’t that person who is blocking traffic in the aisle trying to pull our your computer or magazines. Another pro tip is that as soon as you board, start scanning the bins near where your seat is to see if there is room for your bag above where you’re sitting. If not, try and find a spot along the way. That way, you can pick it up as you’re unloading from the plane. The only caveat is that you should never put your bag in the bin above the first row of a plan or any that face a bulkhead because that will force those passengers to go find a place for their bags behind them – which becomes a major hassle for them and slows everyone down. Be kind and don’t be that person.
4. Be Ready to Stand
If you happen to prefer sitting in an aisle seat, you know you’re going to have people sitting inside you either in a window or middle seat. If you’re the first to get to your row, pay attention to see when your seat-mates approach. When they do, politely stand up and take a step back to allow them to enter and get in their seats. Don’t be rude by standing in front of the row or, worse, keep sitting and force the person to squeeze around you.
5. Watch Your Diet
The times that anyone raves about the food on an airplane are few and far between. So it’s understandable that people like to bring their own food on the plane with them. But think about the people sitting next to you when you make your choice. I have had the extremely unpleasant experience of sitting next to someone who brought their greasy cheeseburger topped with onions with a side of garlic fries on the plane with them. Boy did that reek. While we are at it – keep the cologne and perfume to a minimum – it’s kind of tough in tight quarters. Don’t be that person.
6. Watch Your Tongue
It’s important to be respectful of your seat-mates when it comes to whether you can talk their ear off or not on a plane. Watch for the clues to give you a sense of whether someone wants to strike up a conversation. Some times I use my plane time to recover from a few hard days on the road or to prepare for an upcoming meeting and I have no interest in chatting. Other times I’m all for killing the time with a good conversation. It just depends. So you can always say hello to your seat-mate, but if they then close their eyes or pull out a book, be respectful and give them some space.
7. Keep Your Arms and LegsTo Yourself
Nothing is worse than sitting in the middle seat. So be kind to that poor person by giving them full access to their two arms rests. The two outside armrests belong to the window and aisle seat. But the person in the middle deserves their own space, so watch your elbows and arms so that you’re not forcing them to jockey for position. If you can squeeze in without disturbing them, fine – but they have priority. If you have the middle, you space ends at the edge of the armrest, no poking your seat mates in the sides with your elbows. The same goes for your legs, no crossing the line between the seats – we don’t care if you have a wide stance.
8. Don’t be Surprised You Landed
Unloading a plan should be the easiest thing in the world. It starts with everyone in front and works backwards from there. But it’s never that simple. There is always someone who seems surprised when it’s time for their row to get and leave. It’s pretty clear when the plane lands – you shouldn’t be surprised it’s time to get off . Watch watch’s happening around you. As soon as the plane parks, and you hear the ding in the cabin, get your stuff together unbuckle your belt, and get ready to grab your bag and go. Even better: if you are sitting on the aisle, stand up to give your seat-mates some extra room to get ready. Then keep standing slightly behind the row until they get up and leave as a way to block the more aggressive people behind you who might try to squeeze ahead of your row. You know whom I’m talking about. While everyone will respect the person who is late for a connecting flight, just ask and we’ll let you go ahead. We’re all in the same boat, or plane as it was.
If everyone would heed these eight simple etiquette tips, all of your flights would load faster, deplane faster, and we’d all find the experience of flying that much less stressful. So try and keep these tips in mind the next trip you take and we can begin to make this kind of behavior the norm rather than the exception.
Jim is the author of the best-selling book, “Great CEOs Are Lazy” – grab your copy to today on Amazon!
May 31, 2017
SGI and Saskatchewan law enforcement will be focusing on new drivers and motorcycle riders throughout June. Police will be watching for new drivers and riders disobeying the restrictions under their respective Graduated Driver’s Licence (GDL) program.
“New drivers and riders have a lot to learn, so we encourage them to know what restrictions apply to them, take advantage of the courses offered and practice as much as possible to become a safe driver,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund. “One of the most important things for new drivers and riders to know is that there is absolutely zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs before driving. As they are still learning to drive, we want new drivers to be one hundred per cent focused on the task at hand.”
Between 2011 and 2015, drivers 19 years of age and younger represented seven per cent of Saskatchewan’s driving population, yet were involved in 11 per cent of all collisions. Young drivers also represented 10 per cent of drivers killed and 12 per cent of drivers seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision.
Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Take training – New drivers must take one of two training courses before attempting a Class 5 road test. High school students age 15 and up can take an SGI-sponsored program for free through their school division. Alternatively, those 16 and over can pay for a course offered by a certified driving educator.
- Earn your privileges – The GDL program is designed to improve road safety by exposing new drivers of any age to incremental levels of risk as they gain more experience. There are three stages in the program: Learner (9 months), Novice 1 (6 months) and Novice 2 (12 months).
- Know your restrictions – There are requirements for a supervising driver, limits on how many passengers you can have, hours you can drive, and other considerations. These restrictions are loosened as drivers advance through the stages of the GDL program.
- Take training – Motorcycle training is highly recommended and makes financial sense. New riders entering the Motorcycle GDL program who do not pass a certified motorcycle safety course pay a $500 surcharge on their licence as they enter each stage. But if they pass a course, that surcharge is waived – plus, if they graduate incident-free, they receive a $450 rebate, which is roughly the cost of the course.
- Earn your privileges – The Motorcycle GDL program for new motorcyclists has the same Learner, Novice and Novice 2 stages.
- Know your restrictions –There are restrictions when it comes to passengers and time of day when riding is allowed. There are also specific requirements for wearing protective gear and displaying an ‘L’ or ‘N’ placard on the licence plate indicating learner or novice rider.
- For both GDL programs, depending on the incident, the result could be a ticket, loss of licence and/or loss of points under the Safe Driver Recognition (SDR) program. Generally speaking, the consequences of failing to comply with a licence endorsement/restrictions result in a fine of $150 and three demerits.
- For both GDL programs, there is a zero alcohol/drug tolerance level for new drivers, as well as any driver/rider (new or experienced) age 21 and under. First-time offenders will lose their licence for 60 days, lose four points under SDR and have the vehicle seized and impounded for three days, plus pay for towing, storage, and a DWI course.
- New drivers and riders are not allowed to use any type of cellphone while driving – neither hand-held nor hands-free. The fine is $280 and four demerit points. New drivers/riders caught using their cellphone while driving (distracted driving) for the second time within one year will have the vehicle they are driving seized for seven days.
Rules to live by
- Practice, practice, practice! And practice exactly the way you were taught by your certified instructor.
- If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. If you’re going to drive, don’t drink.
- Know and follow all restrictions outlined on your licence.
- Gradually expose yourself to different weather conditions and times of day.
- If you have questions about the road test or the rules of the road, #AskAnExaminer on social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Supervising drivers should visit the SGI website and review the latest editions of the Saskatchewan Driver Handbook and read A Guide to Supervising New Drivers. Some things may have changed since they got their licence.
B.C.’s Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) was implemented to develop driving skills in a safe, step by step manner. Today, they are a widely accepted, effective safety measure. The systems that have been evaluated have been found to be very effective in reducing crashes and injuries, and public acceptance is high.
In the beginning a driver earns a Learner Driver licence that is subject to a set of restrictions that mandates the presence of an instructor and sets passenger restrictions to reduce the possibility of distractions. There are hours of the day restrictions as well, although midnight to 5:00 am is probably a time when most of them are sound asleep by personal choice.
After a year of practice with a supervisor and passing a road test the GLP Learner becomes a Novice and restrictions are relaxed in comparison to the Learner. A passenger restriction of one person applies unless the Novice is accompanied by an instructor.
After passing another road test, the successful Novice will be issued a full privilege driver’s licence. Of course, any driver may be the subject of restrictions if there is a need for them. Examples of these restrictions include such things a the requirement to wear corrective lenses or to be fitted with a prosthesis or leg brace. This document lists the possible restrictions on page 115.
At the onset of the GLP program new drivers who disobeyed any of the restrictions were ticketed under section 25(15) of the Motor Vehicle Act. A conviction carried both a fine and penalty points.
As new drivers are subject to lower thresholds for prohibition from accumulated penalty points there was soon a large number of new drivers who had lost their licences for failing to display new driver signs. The solution was to implement division 30.13 and later division 30.10 in the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations which did not result in penalty points for failing to display, only fines.
Police were encouraged to use the new regulation for driver sign violators instead of section 25(15).
Of B.C.’s 3.3 million licenced drivers, over a quarter million of them are Learner or Novice drivers. That’s about 1 in 12. I suspect that we should be seeing more new driver signs displayed on vehicles around us as we drive.
Of course that depends on who you ask. There are many opinions about the display of new driver signs, including some well qualified people who feel that the N sign should not be required.
This article was actually prompted by the inquiry from a friend whose teenaged daughter asked him for permission to ride with friends contrary to their licence restrictions. He refused to give her permission and began to search for what the repercussions would be if she did not follow the rules thinking that they would be serious ones.
Really, the worst thing that can happen aside from a ticket under 25(15) for the driver is having the police prohibit the driver from proceeding until licence conditions are met. He could receive a telephone summons to come and pick up his daughter from the side of the highway.
Many of our problems on the highway result from people who treat the rules as something to follow as long as it is convenient. If it isn’t convenient, they do as they please. Sadly, this lesson is one that is passed down easily and followed without further thought by new drivers.
I often prowl through driving forums on the internet searching for interesting topics of discussion. The following quote came from a site in Kelowna:
Sadly, not everyone knows the rules of the road and/or how to operate their motor vehicle correctly. Pressing the pedals and basic coordination is about as far as some people get.
We live in an age of readily accessible information if we have an internet connection and a bit of curiosity. The Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations are our official rule books. Learn to Drive Smart and Tuning Up For Drivers are the starter guides for those of us who are starting our driving careers. TranBC is a blog that carries driving tips and news from the B.C. Government.
The YouTube channel for Smart Drive Test delivers free driving lessons tailored specifically for B.C. Drivers.
Organizations such as the B.C.A.A. and SafetyDriven promote road safety on their web sites.
This site, Achieving Justice and the B.C. Driving Blog are good resources created by road safety advocates on their own.
I cannot think of a recent change to our provincial driving environment that has not been reported by traditional media or social media. While the coverage may not be detailed or in the case of some social media posts totally accurate, at least one should have an idea that there might have been a change that affects you.
Shrugging your shoulders and saying to yourself that you either already know enough or will learn about it later on if you need to can be expensive.
The instance that brought this to mind was an inquiry from an Ontario visitor to our province. She had her cell phone in her lap and looked down to study the GPS map while she was in bumper to bumper traffic on the way to the airport. When she looked up again she noticed flashing lights in her blind spot and received a ticket for distracted driving.
Her question to me concerned how she might successfully fight this ticket.
This might be difficult to accomplish as the rules in Ontario parallel those here in B.C. was my first response.
Well, I didn’t know that and it’s almost impossible to know all the rules of the road she said. If the cell phone is supposed to be secured in a holder, shouldn’t the car rental company provide one?
The head in the sand approach to learning will probably cost this lady at least the price of the ticket which is currently $368. If she intends to dispute the ticket she will either have to come back to B.C. to conduct her defence or hire a lawyer to act on her behalf. Chances are very good that retaining counsel will be at least double the cost of the ticket itself with no guarantee of having the charge dismissed.
As with many other things in our life, we need to take possession of the issue and make sure that we have the proper knowledge and skills to be successful at what we undertake to do. Making mistakes while driving has outcomes that range from damaging our bank account to damaging ourselves, our loved ones or the lives of other road users.