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Sunday 11 August 2013

Taking your life in your hands

I've just returned from one of my summer pleasures. For the past 4 years my girlfriend and I volunteer as Judges for the Tidy Towns program and it has the incredible benefit of taking us all around the province to visit the most beautiful places you can imagine. This summer we evaluated 7 towns and traveled over 3000 kms from the Avalon, Baie Vert, Burin and Great Northern Peninsulas. As you would expect there's a fair bit of effort keeping eyes peeled for large furry mammals who might ruin our happy trip, but this summer we only saw 3 of those. There were however lots of other things to be wary of.

While I can say that we were never in any real danger on this trip we still got to see plenty of evidence as to why there are so many accidents on our highways. Most accidents on our highways are not a result of moose, but instead its another dumb animal that's to blame.

I drive fast. I always have and I don't expect it will change soon. But I don't drive stupid. I choose a constant speed and based on road and weather conditions I do my best to keep that speed and safely pass those who wish to drive slower. On this trip, and on most trips, I was passed by quite a few folks who seem to feel that their vehicle does not have to conform to the laws of man or of physics. It is not uncommon to be passed as though I'm standing still, even in very heavy rain sometimes, and remember I drive fast already so these folks are skipping along. And with the condition of some of our roads Its just crazy.

I see drivers every day who seem to be blissfully unaware that their vehicles are equipped with indicator lights to help INDICATE when they are turning. Then there are those who like to surge and slow as they drive, I hate them. Pick a speed and stick with it. Differences of more then 20kph in a few minutes on unchanging roads is not safe. We will always have those who drive slowly until you attempt to pass and then it turns into a race. These people are simply unbearable.

Some people seem unable to do the simplest of tasks like use a signal light, use headlights, merge, pass safely or drive without doing at least two other distracting things at the same time. Eating, smoking, talking on the phone, texting, putting on makeup, reading, falling asleep, drinking etc.

Then there's simple vehicle maintenance. You see cars with exhaust pipes falling off, tires falling off or bald, lights not working and we even saw one car who's reverse lights were on while drive 100 on the TCH. It's scary.

In the end the demands on a driver to remain alert are very high and our roads can be very dangerous. Next time you're on the TCH heading across our beautiful countryside don't just concentrate on the ditches, keep an eye to your fellow motorists as well, because they may not be keeping an eye out for you. Drive safe.

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