Where are all the good drivers?

Not enough and too many on cellphones to allow raising limits

Most motorists agree that the majority of drivers travel along the highway between Maple Ridge and Mission at a rate higher than the posted limit.

Editor, The News:

Re: ‘Increase speed limit on Lougheed’ (The News, Oct. 11).

Count me among the unconvinced when it comes to increasing speed limits on B.C. highways:

• drivers do drive distracted by tasks other than safely operating their motor vehicles;

• drivers do ignore speed zones like for schools (especially Pitt Meadows elementary on Harris Road) or for playgrounds (like the park on South Bonson), where I live;

• drivers do operate vehicles with signals that do not work in advance of lane changes or cornering;

• drivers do have difficulty understanding the concept that a stop sign means stop, as does an amber turning to red light;

• drivers do treat sections of the Lougheed Hwy. between the Pitt River Bridge and Mission as high speed zones, and their aggressive driving is apparently matched with an ‘I’ve gotta get there first’ attitude.

This must be so because, for example, they will race to the traffic lights at Harris Road, then 240th Street, and especially before the transition from four-lanes to two-lanes at 272nd Street in Whonnock, or through the busy 60 km/h zone at Silverdale (because you know it’s going back down to two lanes to the east.

I say “drivers” not “some drivers” intentionally because, although not all drive distracted, or without regard for speed zones, or too aggressively, more than enough do for their behaviours to be a constant threat to the safe road travel of others.

If the too-fast drivers were not so clearly self-indulgent and with apparent disregard for the safety of others, then I could have some sympathy for Ian Toothill’s push.

But, sadly, I don’t see the good driving habits that warrant his general thesis.

Moreover, a great many drivers are not as good as they think they are.

Far too often I have a driver close on my rear bumper when the road is straight, and then fall quickly back when curves appears.

I see the same in my rear view mirror every day with drivers who are incapable of turning into the eastbound lane on Hammond Road from Harris Rd. without using the curb lane/bus stop.  This is a  simple driving task and done at low speed, but most drivers can’t do it.

Frankly, I don’t think drivers are all that competent.

However, I will give Mr. Toothill credit for incorporating the latter part of this sentence: “The top speed, he says, should be perceived by most drivers as a fast speed – uncomfortably to maintain for a long trip.”

Though I caution, it turns his thesis upside down.

On another occasion, I had written about driving around Australia, that the speed on the Stuart Highway was posted at 130 km/h and that not one driver had passed us travelling at 105 km/h – from Three Ways south to Alice Springs and Erldunda and then north all the way to Katherine in the Northern Territory.

Australians travelling in the Outback have learned that even on the best highway in the country, driving too fast is very demanding, tiring and fuel inefficient.

They simply don’t do it.

So, Mr. Toothill seems to understand that driving fast on B.C.’s Interior highways might not be safe.

More than ironic then that increasing speeds where there are more drivers than enough to clog the Lougheed’s four-lane sections at times and most often the two-lane sections, would be on the table.

Mr. Toothill says that speed kills your pocket-book’

Another view might be, if $60 million in fines a year has not got the attention of drivers, one had best not tell them. They might drive even faster.

Rick Higgs

Pitt Meadows

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