It was recently time to purchase a new vehicle and, when I saw the shiny, scratch-free addition to the garage, I decided to do my best, to keep it in its brand new condition. This meant, I had to curb any bad driving practices I may have had. Coupled with the cost of fuel, emissions on the environment, the price of speeding tickets, and the wear and tear on the car, all contributed to this milestone decision, not to mention obeying the law. It was only then I realized how few people drive within the confines of legality.
My first resolution was to limit my driving to no more than ten kilometres over the limit. I know it’s still illegal, but we have to start somewhere. My cruise control, allows me to accelerate and decelerate using only my thumb. I quickly learned how much I was avoiding wear and tear on my brakes. I also found how cruise control tends to keep you driving within (or close to) the limits of the law.
I was amazed, almost shocked, at the number of vehicles who passed me, while I was chugging along at my happy, ten-km-over speed. I was showered with attitude, gestures and head shakes, all which at first bothered me, but since my stress level has greatly diminished, I really don’t care.
Highways are a little different, and I understand that people want to travel faster. That’s why there are so many lanes. I can still stay within my ten-km-over rule (although admittedly, I do sometimes drift), but it’s the side streets where I get annoyed. That is where children walk, seniors cross and students dart in and out of traffic.
Being much more conscious of driving habits now, I find myself cringing as I drive through school zones and see people whizz by at nearly twice the allotted speed. We should all be grateful for those little signposts in the middle of the road, which force us to slow down.
Many speed limits have been lowered from 60 to 50 and from 80 to 60. There is no doubt, a good reason for that. Why can’t people tune in to the safety of driving? There are many more fatalities on our streets than there used to be, and speed seems to be the number one killer of pedestrians.
If you are one of those people who believe ‘it will never happen to them’, think about the cost of fuel. The days of cheap gas and eight cylinder engines are behind us, and will never return. We have many more drivers on the roads, and the infrastructure is not what it used to be.
If you have kids, drive as if they were walking near you. If you are young, appreciate that one day you will be a senior, and will also succumb to the toll of time. If you are always in a rush, leave a few minutes earlier or plan to be a few minutes late. No matter who passes me or how fast they are going, they never seem to get much further ahead than stopping at the next light.