Friday, June 24, 2011
Lay Down Your Horns, Edmonton Drivers
Truck driver, I understand your impatience, I really do. Your huge vehicle gives you better sightlines across the intersection; to you, who can see past the behemoth SUV in the opposite left turn lane, it appears as though I have plenty of time to make the turn.
But in my little Toyota Corolla, I can't see over the SUV in the opposite turning lane. I can't tell if there are other vehicles just about to leap into the intersection. So I wait for the SUV to clear the intersection so that I can see if it's safe to turn. Sometimes that means I'm stuck there until the light turns yellow, and even then I'm going to wait until I'm certain that someone on the opposite side doesn't speed through the yellow at the last second. And one final point: why should I trust your judgement that it's safe to proceed? You can't communicate traffic conditions through your horn; stop trying.
Last night on the Anthony Henday, I committed the unforgiveable sins of not only following the posted speed limit, but slowing down a little more for a few moments to allow a signalling driver to enter my lane. An angry driver behind me sounded off with his horn, three rapid, staccato toots of impotent rage. He was probably even more upset that construction barricades prevented him from passing me on the right shoulder, which he was clearly attempting.
The driver behind me couldn't tell why I was slowing down. For all he knew, I was slowing to avoid a collision with a vehicle or a pedestrian. Did he really expect me to speed up just because he was honking his horn? If anything, the distraction could have thrown off my attempt to avoid a crash.
No driver is perfect, and many drivers overestimate their competence. It's possible I drive too conservatively. But my intentions are good: I want to make it through my commute without endangering myself or others. A little more caution, courtesy and patience among Alberta drivers would create safer roads for everyone.