by Mary Wimmer
Frustrated and tense and you’ve only just arrived at work? It just might be your daily commute! Some days, it feels like every bad driver is sharing the road with you.
Check out what’s grinding our gears!
DRIVERS’ TOP 10 PET PEEVES
Beyond being discourteous, failing to signal is dangerous and illegal. It can cause other drivers to slam on their brakes or quickly change lanes to avoid a collision. Fail to signal and you could end up with two demerit points and up to $150 in fines in Ontario.
Blinded by the light. Failing to dim high beams at night is a common complaint. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation advises using low-beam headlights within 150 metres of an oncoming vehicle or when following a vehicle within 60 metres.
The shoulder lane is for use of emergency vehicles – not for drivers in a rush. The only time you may drive on the right shoulder of the road is to pass a vehicle turning left, and then only if the shoulder is paved. You may not pass on the left shoulder, whether it is paved or not.
You can’t nail every parking attempt on the first try. But if at first you don’t succeed, don’t get out and leave your car poorly parked – take and extra minute or two to straighten out your vehicle.
“Keep right” – it doesn’t get much simpler than that. Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act spells it out: if you’re driving at less than the normal speed on a road with two (or more) lanes, stick to the right-hand side. And Ontario’s Driver’s Handbook advises motorists to use the left-hand lane only for passing (or when turning left).
Frequent lane changes can increase the risk of a collision, especially in heavy traffic or poor weather. Remember: spending a few seconds behind a vehicle is always safer than going around it.
Slowing and staring at an accident scene is the equivalent of distracted driving. It disrupts traffic and takes your eyes off the road, creating a potentially dangerous situation.
Tailgating is annoying and unsafe. In Ontario, you can be fined up to $500 and four demerit points – even a license suspension. Leave a minimum of two seconds between your car and the vehicle ahead. This is the minimum amount of time needed for a driver to react to a sudden change in the road, under ideal driving conditions. If you encounter bad weather, or are driving at night, add a few more seconds on to that.
Speed is a factor in more than 20 per cent of fatal crashes and 12 per cent of all crashes across Canada. Posted speed limits are there for your safety and for the safety of those around you – obey them.
Distracted driving comes in many forms – texting, eating, putting on makeup – anything that takes your eyes off the road. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash…it’s dangerous and illegal. Leave the phone alone, and eliminate all other distractions before you set out.