Better driving the key to a safer Malahat

The biggest improvement that can be made on the Malahat highway has nothing to do with construction crews.

Making the highway safer is a laudable goal.

But there’s something that can be done immediately that wouldn’t cost anyone a dime.

If more people would obey the rules of the road and drive more safely on the much-maligned highway there would be far fewer problems.

Median barriers and passing sections are all well and good, but it ultimately comes down to what people are doing behind the wheel.

It’s often not a pretty picture. There are a certain number of drivers who seem to feel that speed limits are for other people, or just shouldn’t exist at all.

These folks tend to be absolutely convinced that they are the epitome of great driving, too.

Everyone else on the road is a problem.

Not only do they figure they have the right to go as fast as they want, they get annoyed when someone has the gall to not share their mindset.

So they pull up right behind the person who’s holding them up, presumably thinking that if they tailgate closely enough they can bully the driver in front of them into getting with the program.

At highway speeds, this is an incredibly dangerous way to drive.

Add to that roads slippery with frost or snow, or the pouring rain that the West Coast is famous for and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Then they get to the passing lanes, designed to let the faster drivers pull ahead of the slower ones.

Everyone who’s ever driven the highway and found themselves behind a tanker truck struggling up the hills has been thankful to see such a lane come into sight.

But all too often poor driving strikes again, as speedsters aim to pass as many people as possible in one go. It often appears as if they think they’re in a video game, not a real life situation with real life consequences should something go wrong.

For instance, that car they almost force off the road at the end of the passing lane, because there really wasn’t time to get by that one more vehicle, doesn’t just disappear off the edge of the screen.

In real life, hitting a barrier or the rock wall has permanent repercussions.

The really crazy thing is that you’ll often see these same drivers, perhaps a car length or two in front of you, when you descend into Goldstream Park or pull up to a stoplight in Mill Bay.

It’s astounding that people are willing to risk their lives – make no mistake, that’s what they’re doing – for so little.

Don’t be in such a hurry. It’s not worth it; too many fatalities have proven that true.

Each of us plays a part in making the Malahat safer.