Drivesmart column: What to keep in mind for 2019: suggestions from the Twitterverse

@kevinsgonriding wonders why car manufacturers are allowed to make [rear] signal lights red.

By Tim Schewe

For my final article of 2018 I turned to the loyal followers of @DriveSmartBC on Twitter, asking what they felt was important to review. Within a very short time I had five suggestions to write about.

@MRTMCMLIII suggested the “Orange Options” on each corner that few know how to use to signal their intentions before they complete a manoeuvre.

Our Motor Vehicle Act mentions signaling in at least five sections:

151 – A driver must not drive from one lane to another without signalling their intention

169 – You must signal before moving a vehicle that is stopped, standing or parked

170 – If another driver might be affected by your turn, you must signal far enough in advance to warn traffic

171 – How to signal a turn

172 – How to signal if your vehicle is left hand drive

Despite section 170, I would suggest that a careful driver always signals each time they turn or change lanes, even if they think that they are the only vehicle on the road. In the worst case, you will telegraph a pending mistake to others before you make it!

@kevinsgonriding wonders why car manufacturers are allowed to make [rear] signal lights red. The simple answer is because our federal rules permit it. Apparently this is only the case in the U.S. and Canada though. It’s a good point to make as it appears that yellow signal lamps on the rear reduce crashes.

@OrcaBC101 says that another reminder about sharing roads with big commercial vehicles wouldn’t hurt. Like don’t cut in front of them or you might find their grill in your back seat, or worse!

There is a lot of information on the No Zone, places around a heavy commercial vehicle where you are essentially invisible to the driver.

Couple this with the fact that a fully loaded heavy commercial vehicle with properly functioning brakes could have twice the stopping distance of your car and you can imagine how foolish it is to get in front of one and then brake suddenly.

@shoppingblonde remarked about remembering to slow down, people walking have the right-of-way.

Yes, above all a driver has the duty to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian on a highway. Pedestrians don’t always have the right-of-way though. They must not leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close it is not practical for the driver to yield the right of way.

@andydunstan probably had the best suggestion of all: start the New Year like driving matters, that the rules of the road are there for a reason, that traffic signals should be obeyed, lane discipline adhered to and the focus is on doing what is right not what is right for you.

I can’t add to that!

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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