You are here

Motor vehicle

Wet Weather Driving

Research articles : 

Are you prepared to drive on wet roads after our dry summer? It's time to shift mental gears and be ready for another season of less than ideal driving conditions. Many drivers try to blame their crashes on the weather, but a more truthful answer might be that the reason for the crash is failing to take the weather into account.

Work in Progress

Research articles : 

Hey, that machine is driving on the wrong side of the road! Can that utility truck park like that while they fix the overhead wires? These are just two of similar questions that the public often ask. The answer is yes, as long as it is done safely.

Part three of the Motor Vehicle Act contains the driving rules like speeding, stopping at stop signs and which side of the road to drive on. Section 120 exempts persons, vehicles and other equipment while actually engaged in highway or public utility, construction or maintenance work on, under or over the surface of a highway while at the site of the work from the provisions of Part three.

This exemption is tempered by section 121. It says that the driver of a vehicle referred to in section 120 wil drive with due regard for safety, considering all the circumstances including the nature, condition and use of the highway and the amount of traffic that is or may be on it.

The Industrial Health and Safety Regulations also play a role. It requires that traffic control be provided whenever the unregulated movement of vehicular traffic is a hazard to workers. It goes on to explain what types of traffic controls may be required, and how to use them.

Do I Have to Produce My Driver's Licence?

Research articles : 

For most of us, there is no way around it. If we drive a motor vehicle on a highway we must carry our driver's licence with us at all times and produce it on the demand of a police officer. We must also allow the officer to take it in hand and examine it. There is no 24 hour grace period to produce it at your convenience, contrary to what many people commonly think.

If the officer asks, we must also state our name and current address. A response of "It's printed right there on the licence" is not acceptable.

A driver's licence is important to an officer doing traffic enforcement. It properly identifies you, sets out what kind of vehicles you may operate and could include other restrictions and privileges. Being able to produce your licence when asked reduces the possibility that you are a prohibited or suspended driver.

Police officers are permitted to take photos of a driver as part of their investigational notes. I often did this when I stopped a driver who could not produce a licence. The photo sometimes turned out to be important later on to positively identify the driver for court purposes. It also resolved personation complaints when the driver knew they were not properly licensed and masqueraded as a friend or family member who did to avoid prosecution.

The Good Samaritan

Research articles : 

Virtually every crash scene that I attended during my policing career featured at least one good samaritan. These were people who stopped to help another in a time of need, often at some risk to themselves. This kind of selflessness is encouraged with protection granted by law in British Columbia.

The Good Samaritan Act protects a lay person who is providing emergency aid to injured people at an accident scene. The protection applies unless the rescuer is grossly negligent in their actions. Gross negligence is any action or an omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to the safety or property of another.

However, before you jump in to help at the next collision, remember that unless you have first aid training and know what to do it is best to do the least necessary to preserve life and prevent worsening of the injury. Paramedics are quick to caution that it is very easy to do significant damage instead applying treatment.

If you have access to a cell phone, a 911 call will provide expert guidance from paramedical personnel if you are willing to remain connected and provide accurate information. Following this guidance will produce the best outcome for the injured. Should communication not be available, be cautious so that you won't make a bad situation worse and need the protection of the Good Samaritan Act.

A Safe Trip to School

Research articles : 

This article may be one of many that you read over the next week or so reminding you that our children will soon be on their way to school again. They will remind you that school zones will be in effect, school crossing guards must be obeyed and that caution around stopped school buses is required. Will you as a prudent driver take this to heart and practice it without fail or will all your good intentions disappear the first time you are in a hurry?

As I have written before, my policing experience in school zones has shown me that many traffic rule offenders (more than just speeding) are parents and teachers themselves as they rush to get their children to school or to reach work on time. If these people don't stop and think about risk versus convenience, why should they expect other drivers to do it? Everyone else could be in just as much of a hurry.

Perhaps we need to have school zone campaigns at different times of the year that focus on issues other than speed. Officer on the bus, illegal stopping and parking, u-turns, child restraint use and failing to obey the direction of a crossing guard come to mind. All of these behaviours present their own dangers to young pedestrians and passengers.

Dealing With the Boom Boxes

Research articles : 

A very annoying problem we hear on the local roads are the numerous Boom Boxes playing at all hours of day or night. I think our noise by-law should be enforced, as we have enough noise pollution as it is without these ridiculous noise boxes waking us from our sleep. Can you enlighten me on the subject please?

I'm not sure that you will be surprised to find that the Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations don't deal with noise of this type from vehicles. It only prohibits noise from the engine, exhaust system or the braking system, or from the contact of the tires with the roadway. Police have to fall back on either a municipal bylaw or the Criminal Code when the issue gets out of hand.

No person shall make or cause any noise or sound on a highway or elsewhere within the corporate limits of the City which disturbs or tends to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons in the vicinity. This bylaw section from the Penticton allows police to issue a Municipal Ticket Information to violators in that city.

Passing and Turning for Bike Lanes

Research articles : 

Would you write an article on bike lanes? Please explain whether a bike in a bike lane can pass on the right of a car and the proper way for cars to turn right through a bike lane.

A bike lane is a special use lane marked on the highway like any other lane, the difference being that motor vehicles must generally stay out of it. The exception occurs at intersections where it is necessary to turn right and the line between the lanes has changed from solid to broken. In this case, the driver must do a proper lane change over the segment with the broken line prior to turning and must not affect the travel of cyclists using the bike lane.

Otherwise, if there is no broken line, the driver must remain in the right most vehicle lane prior to turning and yield to any bike traffic before turning right and crossing over the bike lane.

Bicycles using the bike lane may pass with caution on the right of traffic in the lane to their left. This is because they are in a multiple lane situation where there is an unobstructed lane on the right of overtaken traffic that the cyclist is permitted to use. The requirement to pass with caution does place an onus on the cyclist to expect something other than unconditional right of way when passing.

Determining Vehicle Speed from Yaw Marks

Research articles : 

When a vehicle is in yaw it is rotating around a vertical axis through it's center of mass. The long, curved Y shaped marks left by the tires on the pavement were characteristic of this motion. If they were striated and of constantly diminishing radius they were of great interest for collision reconstruction because the vehicle's speed could be determined from them.

A series of chord and middle ordinate measurements were made of the outside front tire mark at regular intervals starting where the outside rear tire started to track outside of the path of the front tire. These measurements were used to calculated the radius of the curved tire mark and the series was compared to insure that the radius was continually getting smaller. If so, this was a true yaw and combined with the co-efficient of friction for the road surface, the vehicle speed could be calculated.

For the simplest case, a flat road, the equation speed equals 11.27 times the square root of the front tire mark radius multiplied by the co-efficient of friction of the road surface would yield the speed of the vehicle at that point of the yaw in km/h.

Why is it so Dangerous to be a Pedestrian Lately?

Research articles : 

Right or wrong, the pedestrian is always the loser in a collision with a motor vehicle. Nowhere in British Columbia is that more apparent than in Vancouver. So far this year, the pedestrian death count has already exceeded that of the entire year of 2010.

How can this be? One would think that crossing the street can't be that difficult, can it? Take out your earbuds, put down that texting device and hang up your cell phone, you're going to need to pay attention to this, just like you need to pay attention when you cross.

Have You Been Directly Affected by a Collision?

Research articles : 

I often ask if anyone has been directly affected by a collision in the past year when I am making a presentation to a group. I can see people thinking about it and then a few hands may tentatively rise. My answer usually surprises them and it may surprise you as well.

About 80% of the premiums that ICBC collects each year are paid out again to settle collision claims. If you are like me, we pay just over $500 per year for our basic insurance. That means we have paid at least $400 per year directly out of our pockets for collisions whether we were in one or not!

Recently ICBC announced plans to increase the penalties for drivers who do not follow the traffic laws. This idea was immediately met with howls of protest that were loud enough to cause our government to tell ICBC that it wasn't acceptable. Does this mean that the drivers who are more than likely going to place us all at increased risk of collision should feel a little bit of pain but not enough potential pain to cause them to think twice beforehand?

The surest way to avoid the costs associated with collisions is not to have them in the first place. Yes, we all make mistakes, but let's not practice the behaviours that encourage mistakes and let's make it more difficult for those that do.

Pages

Subscribe to Motor vehicle