Reckless on the road – the scourge of our highways

Published on November 26, 2016

Reckless and dangerous driving is the scourge of highways across Canada.

©Michael Newhook

There’s been a lot of Internet traffic about a more traditional form of traffic in the last few days: a video of a near head-on collision on Peacekeeper’s Way in Conception Bay South, N. L.

The video, shot on dashcam, shows a dark blue pickup truck forcing another car to take evasive action, moving onto the shoulder and almost grazing the guardrail to avoid a crash. The pickup truck is passing another car in a no passing zone.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can get a good fright here:

The video is amazing — but not for the reasons that first spring to mind. Not for obvious things like that driver is an amazingly dangerous driver who shouldn’t be on the road.

No, what’s most amazing about that video is that almost anyone you talk to who regularly drives Peacekeeper’s Way has seen driving every bit as stupid. It seems as though most people in this province have seen similar acts of driving idiocy — or worse.

And it’s not just dangerous passing, failing to signal and not understanding how merging lanes work. Anyone travelling the Trans-Canada at anything close to the limit has been passed by someone travelling at such incredible speeds that it’s hard to understand how the driver of the speeding vehicle retains any real control.

Roads dark? Doesn’t matter. Roads wet? Doesn’t matter. Roads icy? It’s hard to even call it an accident when vehicles end up on their roofs because they are driven at speeds too high for the road conditions of the day.

Police now only highlight the absolutely astounding speeds they deal with: 157 km/h on Pitts Memorial Drive, or speeds over 160 km/h on the highway.

Add to that using cellphones or texting while driving, not to mention the seemingly unending litany of drivers arrested for driving unregistered and uninsured vehicles, and you have to ask if this province doesn’t have a serious problem with bad drivers.

And it’s hard to know what can possibly help; the RNC recently conducted a sting to catch distracted drivers — drivers who can’t leave their phones alone — and while they caught several, the very next day you could find people blithely using their phones at pretty much any intersection in the city.

Safe driving seems to be a skill that nobody wants to learn — even though the hard lessons you get for bad driving can include permanent injury, years of increased insurance fees, multiple charges and fines, even death — the death of a loved one, a perfect stranger or yourself.

Does getting there five minutes sooner make wrecking a $15,000 or $20,000 or $30,000 vehicle worthwhile? Is it worth killing yourself — or someone else? Hardly.

But is that message getting across? Clearly not.