Behind the Wheel

Every morning, I drive about 15 mins to work and 30 mins on the weekend (depending on the location). This morning, I was casually observing the way people were driving while waiting for traffic lights to change or my turn at the stop sign and I noticed something alarming. I don’t know if it’s just my city or if things are like this in general now adays, but drivers are more and more careless. As I think back, I have seen MANY drivers zipping through red lights (just after they’ve turned red) and not stopping at stop signs, causing many near misses. I’m sure many of these have also caused accidents, but I have been fortunate enough to not have witnessed any.

Just this morning, I was pulled into the intersection waiting for a break in the traffic so I could turn left and the light turned red. I was just about to go when the next car in the oncoming traffic went flying through the red light, having to swerve a bit to avoid hitting me. I was absolutely baffled why anyone would do such a thing when they could have hit someone starting to go through the green (which I was now in the way of because of the light change and the driver going through the red light). There is a lot of talk right now about the city installing red light cameras and I’m starting to think they may not be such a bad idea despite the heavy price tag. There has been an increasing number of accidents over the years and I have to wonder how many of them could have been prevented by people following the rules of the road. Red means stop.

I will admit that I’m not a perfect driver and I’m sure I’ve had a few infractions. I accidentally rear-ended someone once but luckily there was very little damage (so little that it didn’t even warrant a police report). I’ve also had a few near misses, which I blame the other drivers for, but with good reason. One, I was driving down a straight road behind a bunch of cars. They all got into the right hand turning lane but I continued on straight. A driver that was turning right onto the street I was driving on must have assumed I was also going to get into the turning lane (even though I made no move to indicate at all that I would be doing so) and started to turn as I was coming up to the corner. Thankfully, I had some good driver’s training and managed to maneuver my car to avoid the accident. The other incident that comes to mind is when I was driving down another street with two lanes. The left hand lane was stopped as the light had just turned green and I was in the right hand lane. The driver at the end of the line in the left lane decided he didn’t want to wait and darted into my lane, giving me very little time to break in order to avoid hitting him. I ended up slamming on my breaks (thankfully the driver behind me had lots of room or I would have been rear ended myself) and narrowly avoided hitting him.

These situations are so frustrating! Mainly because they could be easily avoided by just being more observant of your surroundings and having a little bit of patience. People are just too much in a hurry to get everywhere. The number of speeders is ridiculous as well. I drive a little over the speed limit, like many people do in that “not more than 10kms over” range, and still I have people blowing past me. One driver the other day I’m sure had to have been doing 90kms/hr in a 60km zone. It makes me want to bang my head on the wall. And don’t even get me started on all the people on their cellphones while driving. If it’s that important, invest in a hands-free device!

I could probably rant about this forever, but I am at work at the moment and on my lunch break, which is almost up. So, in closing, for you drivers out there, take your time, be observant and don’t be a jerk on the road.

 

Jennifer Lewis

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