“Pride is before a crash.”
As we near the end of the summer months, we all need to slow down and be vigilant in conducting ourselves in a safe manner on the road.
Why does this relate to the end of summer?
Consider the following five factors: First, our driving in dry, comfortable and stable conditions are slowly fading away. Second, there are many roadside construction projects on the go and many of them are still wrapping up in the Fall. Third, during the summer, a build up of oils, dirt and tar cover the roads we drive and work on. Fourth, school is back in session which means more mom vans and young pedestrians. And fifth, we are losing daylight which decreases visibility and onsets our body’s natural fatigue sooner than we are used to.
Why do these issues prove to increase our risk of accident or injury in our lives on the road? Let’s expand on these:
First, it is all too easy to become complacent when we live and move within a stable environment. Summer is exactly that: dry and comfortable with great visibility. We become accustomed to driving in these reliable conditions and, as a result, improper driving habits can start to form. As we drive through summer, these habits become more and more ingrained in our everyday reactions. If we are not careful, these habits can continue with us even as our stable road conditions deteriorate around us. For example, consider posted road speed limits along Highway 1 in the Lower Mainland. While commuting on Highway 1 this summer, certain sections of this road have a posted limit of 100 kph, yet I would say the average traffic speed during the summer was consistently in the range of 115 kph ~ 2 kph. What do you suppose would happen if the average traffic speed continued at that same rate even as we enter the cold, wet, dark days of winter? Please, all of us who drive on the road, do everyone a favor and slow down, because “pride is before a crash.”
Second, every year Labour Day marks the beginning of a renewed routine; Children go back to school, employees are back from vacation, construction projects are picking up speed and salesmen are back in full swing. With these renewed routines, it is easy to be lulled asleep to the fact that there is still care and attention needed around existing hazardous areas such as road construction zones. For example, everyday while commuting between Vancouver and Langley this summer, I watch as many speed by the flashing radar sign showing 100 kph ~ 5 kph while the posted Construction Zone speed limit shows 80 kph. These are men and women who are diligently working to improve our need of safe and efficient transportation. Let’s be kind to these ones and slow down. To continue to drive above the posted speed limits in these work zones puts these hard workers and us at a greater risk of accident, injury or even death. Please, all of us who drive on the road, do these hardworking men and women a favor and slow down, because “pride is before a crash.”
Third, during our hot and dry summers the roads become covered in light films of dust, dirt, oils and tars that in dry conditions pose no threat to daily driving. During the wetter months, these contaminates do not accumulate as the constant rain daily washes them away. However, it is between these two “seasons”, dry and wet, that these contaminates pose problems. You have probably heard of the warning, “the first rain is always the slickest,” and rightly so. Even after these contaminates are washed away, we are still left to contend with rainy wet weather which decreases our traction from dry by up to 20% even with good tires, opens up possibilities for hydroplaning and decreases our visibility. Please, all of us who drive on the road, do everyone a favor and slow down, because “pride is before a crash.”
Fourth, September 3rd marked the first day of school for the 2013-2014 school year. This annual event automatically means a sharp increase in road traffic as school zones come into effect, moms drop off (8-9 AM) and pick up their children (2-3 PM), and more crosswalks being used by young pedestrians (particularly 2-3 PM). This greatly increases the risk of accident and injury for all who use these roadways. For example, a North Vancouver student suffered only minor injuries despite being hit by a car while crossing the street on his first day of school Tuesday. Please, all of us who drive on the road, do our students and their parents a favor and slow down, because “pride is before a crash.”
Fifth, as we approach Winter, lessening daylight eventually results in our driving to work in the dark and driving from work in the dark. Add to the mix rainy and foggy weather, perhaps even icy and slippery conditions, and we have an increased risk to ourselves and the general public. These annual circumstances also has a detrimental effect on our eyes and body. Dark driving conditions invoke the use of headlights on all vehicles which can result in eye strain for the driver from the constant changing of sharp light to complete darkness. Added to that is our body’s natural circadian rhythm, which tells us to sleep when the sun sets and to wake up when the sun rises. These together make us vulnerable to what Transportation Canada calls “Impaired Driving by Fatigue.” Please, all of us who drive on the road, do yourself a favour and get adequate rest, because “pride is before a crash.”
Pride (Noun): 1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether ascherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
We need not be proud so as to be inflexible to the always changing circumstances around us. Please continue to be open minded when making decisions by ever conducting ourselves in a safe, responsible and caring manner.