I consider myself to be an average driver. I make the occasional mistake on the road, yes, but nothing serious and I have certainly never put anyone’s life in jeopardy. I imagine that most people in Edmonton would also consider themselves to be average drivers – or even good drivers.
So why do we have such a bad reputation, as some of the worst drivers in Canada?
I don’t have an answer, but today I happen to find myself thinking about this because of an incident that happened to me recently.
I was stopped at an intersection, turning left from the eastbound lane to go north. I had proceeded into the intersection to wait for the westbound traffic flow to cease, when suddenly a firetruck came up the northbound lane and made to go across the intersection. The drivers along the south portion of the intersection made room for it, and the firetruck passed in front of me.
Then, amazingly, a police car in the left turning lane to go eastbound also lit up it’s lights and went around the car in front of it. Again, I yielded to the emergency vehicle, as a good driver should.
Now, however, we come to the dilemma. While those two emergency vehicles went by, my light had turned red and I found myself – and the car behind me – trapped in the intersection. The green turning arrow had begun to flash for the north and south left-turning lanes.
Common sense would suggest that as I and my fellow traveller were now blocking the southbound traffic flow through the intersection, we should be allowed to clear the intersection despite our red light – before the rest of traffic continued.
But Edmonton drivers don’t appear to have common sense. No less than a dozen cars proceeded to turn in front and around – no small feat- our two trapped vehicles. No one apparently considered that the entire southbound lane was about to be totally obstructed because of that lack of judgement.
When the full green lit up, I gunned it and completed my turn before the northbound traffic went. I hope the car behind me was as lucky.
So, to recap, I properly yielded to two emergency vehicles and was rewarded by a cavalcade of dangerous driving at my expense. And I’ll bet not one of those twelve drivers even thought twice about what they were doing.
Permit for Learning
One of my guilty pleasures is Canada’s Worst Driver, a show on the Discovery channel.
If you’ve never seen it, the premise is pretty simple. Eight drivers from all across Canada are nominated by loved ones for their… questionable motor-vehicle skills. These are real people who’ve been sharing the road with you in our country.
Through a series of tests, the panel of judges and entertaining host Andrew Younghusband try and rehabilitate these bad drivers so they can be released back onto the road. One of those drivers, however, will be named Canada’s Worst Driver… and won’t be getting their license back.
One of the reasons I love the show is the ever-mounting horror as I realise that many of these drivers have no business behind the wheel. The other reason though, is the educational reason.
By following these people through the program, you pick up tips and tricks on how to drive. I can honestly say that I am a better, more attentive driver thanks to what I’ve seen on the show and I highly recommend you catch up on the fifth season for the same reason.
Come on, Edmonton. If we all brush up on our basic skills and pay just a little bit more attention, it’ll make a load of difference. We’re not Canada’s Worst Drivers, are we?
Next Time: Space Invaders