Just a thought… Better a thousand times careful than once dead. [Proverb]
We’ve noticed a few funny things while driving out here in BC – and I’m not just talking about the proliferation of VW vans here, or the right hand drive vans that seem to be everywhere. No, this is about a rule that puzzled us…and something else.
First, we were surprised when we bought our used Mini back in the summertime that it didn’t need to pass any kind of mechanical fitness inspection. None. This is a requirement in Ontario, of course, and I think it makes perfect sense.
But here in BC, where a person hugging a tree should actually be on the provincial coat of arms – heck, both our federal and provincial representatives are members of the Green Party – they seem to allow anything on the road, as long as it will start.
You might remember the story I told you about driving home from an event in downtown Victoria last August when we came up behind an old Jeep driving up the street with gasoline literally pouring out of its tank and onto the pavement, where it made a wide stream towards several vehicles stopped at the same red light. We suspect that, because a safety inspection wasn’t required the last time it was sold, the driver had no idea the gas tank was about to give way. And give way it did. Thank goodness the passenger didn’t toss the lit cigarette that dangled from between her fingers out her open window, when we called out to her in alarm!
And the government doesn’t require emissions testing here either. Several times, we’ve had to shut the fresh air vent when following an older car spewing out noxious exhaust. It’s surprising in a province where health and fitness seem to be so important.
Now here’s something else we find troubling, and this isn’t a BC exclusive.
We were driving home in the dark last week and came up suddenly behind a car seemingly without it lights on. Upon further investigation, we realized that it had its daytime running lights on (but no tail lights). We pulled up beside it at the next intersection, Rob honked and I rolled down my window and shouted to the driver to turn her lights on. I’m afraid she pulled off to the side of the road, probably worried that she had a flat tire or was dragging a skateboarder or something. But I hope that she soon realized why we were trying so hard to alert her. On a dark rainy night it would have been easy for a speeding pickup truck to tattoo her rear bumper with his grill, simply because he didn’t see her.
Not turning on headlights is an easy mistake to make, since, in many cars, the dashboard is automatically lit up when the running lights are on. So, it’s easy for a driver to forget to turn his or her full lighting system on when it gets dark.
Apparently, Transport Canada received so many complaints like this that Ottawa was planning to introduce legislation last fall that would require manufacturers to have tail lights come on along with the daytime running lights, beginning in 2020. I’m not sure if that legislation passed, but if it did, that’s sure a step in the right direction.
Some will yell about a nanny state, too many rules, or whatever else people are shaking their fists at the skies over these days, but honestly, this is something that needs attention. A good friend was pulled over a month ago for driving in some windy and snowy conditions without her full lighting system. She’s not stupid; she just thought the lights were already on because they’re supposed to be automatic in her car. But, it was daytime and there was no way for her to tell by looking out the windshield.
Just try to make sure you’re not among those who don’t flick the lights on at dusk or in rainy or snowy conditions. After all, whether you can see is only part of the equation. You want to be seen, too.
Tomorrow – how I managed to do something I’ve never done before the other day and it was almost compounded with a second, worse, first.