Albertans winning the drive for the wrong gold medal
By: Tim Cusack
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 08, 2012 06:00 am
The August long weekend has come and gone, School supplies are out in force, Halloween treats are on the shelves raring to go, but for area residents it is Rock’n August. Tuesday was the kick-off of this annual event. Car enthusiasts can take in an array of car rallies, parades, drive-in nights and show ’n shines. There will be lots of vintage, classic and contemporary cars, trucks and jalopies for folks of all ages to examine and admire.
Polished and buffed to a shimmering sheen, the bevy of vintage vehicles reveal that many area residents love classic autos. If anything, it becomes readily apparent that significant amount of TLC goes into the upkeep, detailing, and showing off these great rides. For autophiles however, there comes words of caution when taking your pet project for a jaunt: drivers beware!
According to a recent Angus Reid survey entitled, Bad Driving Habits in Canada, a sample of 1001 drivers from across Canada were asked to respond to 12 observable driving habits and it appears that Alberta drivers rank among the worst in numerous categories. So what exactly did this survey examine? It starts with the prompt: “Have you ever witnessed any of the following behaviours over the course of the past month?” What behaviours?
They are, in order: talking on cellphones, speeding, not using signal lights, tailgating, lane cutting, multi-tasking while driving, running red lights, littering, encroaching on crosswalks, honking horns, waving hands or fists and finally, flipping the bird or using other obscene gestures.
Respondents were asked to comment if they have observed these in the past month. Heck, I saw all of them, as well as three separate multi-car accidents, while heading out to Walmart (a mere 2.3 kilometre commute) just the other day. I think Angus Reid has a profound grasp of the obvious.
In fact, in the spirit of the Olympics, if bad driving was a podium event, Albertans would just edge out folks from B.C. for gold overall. Of the 12 survey habits under scrutiny, Albertans took first place in six of them, second in four, tied for third in one, and took fifth place for speeding.
We had a first place hat trick on the last three items. We honk the most, wave our fists the most and in a very close battle with Ontario, we make the most obscene gestures when we drive … perhaps due to latent hostility stemming from the National Energy Program?
Take that Ottawa!
What does this really mean? I wrote a column a few years back stating that all drivers need to get better acquainted with basic physics. It still stands that two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Someone has to yield, someone needs to consider the effects of speed and stopping distances, and ultimately, someone has to make that extra effort to be courteous.
There are so many activities to enjoy during the dog days of August. A scenic drive in the country, a cruise in a convertible, and taking in the events of Rock’n August are a few. Commuting in our city however, should not be cause for anxiety and fear.
If we love classic cars, let’s also love the rules for driving them and all vehicles safely. We all have the ability to go for gold when it comes to developing great driving habits. We just need to ensure we’re all on the same team.
Tim Cusack’s driving habits from the tee-box are questionable.