A Refresher Course
A Letter to the Editor
By Chris Hibbard
(Published in the Lethbridge Herald, October 16, 2010)
In the past seven days, I have nearly been killed twice by bad drivers. Because of this, I think it is time that many of us should undergo a little refresher course in some basic driving skills. Forgive my smarmy attitude, but nearly dying has a tendency to make me a little irritable.
A) Turn signals should be used BEFORE making turns and changing lanes. Turn signals should be turned OFF afterwards, not left blinking until you’re halfway to Calgary. When turning left across oncoming traffic (attention North Siders), you should turn that left signal light on BEFORE you slam on the brakes.
B) Why do so many people have a hard time staying in their own lane? If you blame your drifting on getting distracted by your cell phone, you should be smacked.
C) Speaking of… your cell phone call or text message can wait until you park. If you’re that important that you must be yapping 24/7; hire a cab to chauffer your highness around.
D) Drive defensively but don’t be stupid. Go with the flow of traffic around you. Going too fast is bad; too slow can be just as dangerous. If you can’t see the undercarriage of the vehicle in front of you, you are driving too close.
E) Yield signs mean YIELD, meaning proceed if and when it is safe. Stop signs means STOP. Merge signs mean MERGE. They require you to time your approach, to smoothly blend into other traffic. I know that the Bridge Drive/Crowsnest Trail ramp can be terrifying. In any case, it’s a YIELD.
F) Pedestrians have the right of way, even if they are the idiots. Sad but true. This means stopping BEFORE the crosswalk – not on the X. This means letting them cross if they’re at a corner crosswalk.
G) If you must back out of a stall or driveway onto a road – apply brakes regularly and shoulder check both ways. I know that developers in this town must have been high when designing some of the parking lots, but be smart.
H) Be prepared for your next move. If you’ll be turning right soon, get over to the right hand lane in advance.
I) It is recommended that slower traffic keep right – be it on the highway or on Scenic Drive. This is not a law – but it should be.
These are some simple guidelines to refresh your memory, as many of us haven’t had a driver’s exam since dinosaurs roamed the plains. Regardless of age, thanks for reading and please – don’t be an idiot.