Drivesmart column: Almost is not good enough

Twice in the last few days I have found oncoming drivers encroaching on my lane.

By Tim Schewe

Twice in the last few days I have found oncoming drivers encroaching on my lane. There was no reason for it, such as an obstruction in their lane, that I could see. My conclusion is that they were either unable or too lazy to bother with staying completely between the lines.

In this and other common driving situations, almost is NOT good enough!

Even when there are no lines painted on the road, you are still required to stay in your own half of the roadway. Almost following sections 150 and 151 of the Motor Vehicle Act carries a ticketed amount of $109 and either two or three points respectively.

Now one has to wonder why failing to yield the left lane to faster traffic would be $167 and three points when it is really only an annoyance rather than a danger. One might expect dangerous violations to cost more and result in more points being assessed, but discussing inconsistencies in our penalties will have to wait for another article.

How often have you seen a driver stop with the front of their vehicle well into the crosswalk at an intersection? This behaviour can be hard on pedestrians and results in cross traffic having to decide whether to ignore or evade. Almost stopping before the crosswalk or marked stop line violates section 186 MVA and costs $167 and three points.

While we’re on the subject of stopping, what about the drivers who choose the wrong pedal when the traffic light turns yellow? Almost stopping for a red light is contrary to section 129 MVA. The ticketed amount is $167, but there are only two penalty points.

Almost following the speed limit? The rare slow driver is vastly outnumbered by those who are over it and by significant amounts. Need I say more?

Turning at intersections requires that you approach in the proper lane, follow the correct path through the intersection and complete the turn in the appropriate lane. Almost doing this properly is dealt with by a $109 traffic ticket under section 165 MVA and three points.

A defensive driver always gives an adequate signal before starting, changing lanes or turning, even if the law does not require it. Almost telling others what you are going to do may contravene sections 151 ($109), 169 ($121) or 170 ($121) MVA. All are two point offences.

According to the results of the Drive Smart Refresher test, many experienced drivers do not know what a safe following distance is and that it changes for variations in road conditions. Almost leaving enough room is covered by section 162 MVA and costs $109 and three points.

So, do you almost think about other road users when you drive? Is it acceptable when others almost think about you? Please, repeat after me, almost is NOT good enough!

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

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