Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
June 10th, 2015

It’s in the ABC of growing up

Now, now, darlin’

Oh don’t kill yourself.”   (From “Speeding Cars”  by Imogen Heap.)

The last line bears repeating:  “Oh don’t kill yourself.”  And don’t kill anyone else, or mangle them into any permanent disability.   Driving too fast?  It’s a killer.  Truly.  Grow up.

Yes, speeding was still the top factor in fatal car crashes in our region in 2013.  It used to be the top factor provincially in fatal car crashes; now it’s only in second place; but that’s because more people are idiotically gazing at their mobile devices or yakking on their cell phones while driving.  It’s called “distracted driving” and their distraction is  killing or mangling  themselves and others at record rates.

But back to speeding, the  favorite stupid and deadly behaviour of drivers in our region.  I’ll do a disclaimer here,  noting that I learned to drive from my father, who appeared to think that his first duty as a driver was to pass any other vehicle that had the nerve to appear ahead of him on any road, and that speed limits were for wimps.  He earned so many speeding tickets that, even back in the relatively permissive 1970s, he was required to take a defensive driving course.  It was supposed to cure him of speeding, but alas, it didn’t.  So my first years as a driver were marked by a similar competitive edge — someone ahead? First, catch up!   Then, pass them!    I once drove my dear late first husband’s TR-3 from Nelson to Horseshoe Bay in five and a half hours in the mid-1960s, when there were many more, and sharper, curves in the road.   I survived my speedster tendencies only by pure, blind luck, assisted somewhat by constant vigilance, lack of distraction, and youthful quick reflexes. And I don’t drive like that anymore. I grew up.

Residents along Rossland’s Thompson Avenue have long complained of traffic speeding there.  Mothers of young children have complained to City Council.  Speed bumps have been tried.  People are still speeding, and they do it on most streets, not just Thompson Avenue.  They whip along, intent only on their hurry to be somewhere else.  They ignore pets, small children,  elderly people walking around town, the rules of the road, and the occasional stop sign.  Speeders  disrepect the entire community outside of themselves.

Drivers in the Southern Interior region of BC seem more prone to speeding than elsewhere in BC, or at least more prone to speeding resulting in death.  In fact, drivers in the Southern Interior had more fatal crashes than drivers in any other region of BC for  every reason tallied by ICBC over the  five years from 2009 to 2013.  This is not a distinction to evoke pride.   No wonder our insurance rates are higher.  

I became a much slower, saner driver as the years passed and I gradually learned that driving sensibly was more pleasant and less stressful than trying to get everywhere as fast as possible.  Studies have shown that doing acts of kindness and generosity make us feel happier.  Driving in an alert and considerate way allows us to be kind and generous to other drivers — let that person merge instead of cutting him off!  You’ll feel so much better! 

Speeding, tail-gating, unsafe passing, hacking in and similar obnoxious driving practices will  earn you the enmity of others on the road, at best; at worst, you could end up paying for them with your life or health, or with someone’s else’s death or injury on your conscience.

And as for getting wherever you’re going as quickly as possible — speeding often does not get you there that much faster.   Or any faster.  Especially if your speeding  (or distraction, or tail-gating)  causes an accident en route.  

I invite you: if you habitually drive a little on the fast side,   try slowing down.  You could get accustomed to it.  You might even like it.   But for sure  your neighours will  appreciate it.

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