Editorial: Crashes should prompt us to evaluate our own driving behaviours

It’s easy when you’re behind the wheel to go on autopilot.

Car accidents abound of late.

Some combination of spring and a little bit of rain (finally) seems to have had a negative effect on the driving skills of those hitting Vancouver Island’s highways.

Two crashes held up traffic on Highway 1 heading into Victoria on Sunday afternoon (a separate, fatal, crash on the Patricia Bay Highway was of a different nature altogether). The weather could not have been better, with visibility at 100 per cent and the road bone dry.

Then on Highway 1 outside Duncan just after 9 a.m. Monday a single vehicle crashed into the median in the northbound lanes. Just before that a single vehicle crashed on Highway 18, detouring traffic onto Cowichan Lake Road. Both of these crashes happened as some spring rain fell, slicking the pavement, something drivers have gotten unaccustomed to over the last few very dry months.

All drivers should take these incidents as a warning to pay attention to conditions and maybe slow down a tad. We know the sun and a good song on the radio can have you driving enthusiastically, mind on where you’re going, not on where you are now, but you also need to be safe. You know how meditation gurus tell us we should be in the present moment? That’s especially true while driving.

It’s easy when you’re behind the wheel, especially if you’re taking a route you’re familiar with, to go on autopilot. When you get to your destination you can’t remember anything about the drive. When that happens, thank your lucky stars, because that’s good fortune, not good driving.

And while most people are cautious driving in the snow, we tend to take rain for granted here on Vancouver Island. But it can lead to some tricky conditions, too, and it pays not to be in such a hurry when the roads are wet. Hydroplaning is every bit as treacherous as hitting a sheet of ice.

Do yourself and everyone else on the road a favour: give yourself a little driving test the next time you’re behind the wheel and see if you’re giving in to some bad habits. Nobody else ever has to know, but it gives you the chance to correct your own mistakes before life does it for you.

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