Seeing red

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It’s summertime, the streets are dry and clear, and still, every single day, fire equipment, ambulances and police cars are responding to a seemingly endless collection of vehicular accidents.

You can’t blame it on the weather, and there’s Been no suggestion that the brakes on everybody’s cars have suddenly failed.

So what can be at fault?

Or who?

Maybe it’s the overly distracted and overly rushed person behind the wheel.

Driving infractions have gotten so bad, there have even been calls for the installation of intersection cameras to catch and ticket drivers who run red lights.

That’s a sign of how great public frustration has become, because anyone who’s ever experienced red-light cameras knows that while the cameras are excellent at trimming drivers of cash, they don’t so much stop bad drivers as redirect their bad behaviour.

Try adding the sudden slamming-on of brakes at camera-equipped intersections that you can experience in a city like Winnipeg, and you’ll be cured of wanting to have them here pretty quickly.

But if nothing else works, we could end up with that kind of technology as well as cameras to catch speeders.

If we do, it won’t be long before the complaints begin.

The simple fact is that we are a relatively small urban area with short commuting times and few of the frustrations that dog large municipalities.

We don’t suffer from hours-long gridlock — we don’t have employees who try to convince their bosses to let them work odd hours just to avoid rush hour. In fact, we barely have a rush hour.

We should not be finding ourselves with the sheer number of accidents that we have.

What we do have is drivers who are going too fast, who flatly refuse to signal their intentions to turn or change lanes to other drivers, and who feel that the overarching rule, when faced with a yellow light, is to put their foot to the floor and try to race the red.

It all means more accidents — and, unless you’ve been in one, you can hardly begin to believe how frustrating, time-consuming and expensive they actually are (and that’s the simple accidents, ones where no one was seriously injured or killed.)

Many of the issues we do have could be cleared up with a decent understanding of — and adherence to — basic driving rules, and a helping of common courtesy.

That would go a long way towards reducing the growing number of accidents that litter our intersections with tremendously expensive chunks of plastic and metal every single day.

We are our own worst enemies on the roads. What’s frustrating is that every driver has a choice in the matter — yet day by day, we try to point the finger at everyone else.

Geographic location: Winnipeg

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Recent comments

  • Skeptical Cynic
    July 31, 2012 - 10:43

    When a driver is apprehended speeding or running red lights, as part of the sentence install a tamper-proof GPS in the driver's car for a period of time - same idea as an ignition lock breathalyzer for drunk drivers. If the GPS records a threshold excessive speed for the zone the GPS is located in, the driver is emailed a speeding ticket, and the driver's insurance company is emailed a record of the infraction to put on the policy file so as to adjust the driver's premium accordingly. For the ones who drive without insurance or just won't pay their fines, throw them in jail as an example to deter others who might consider doing the same.

  • george
    July 29, 2012 - 12:19

    it`s not only speeders i see so many time something drama could of happened drivers block off intersectionsu try pulling into nofrilz on topsail rd its very hard trying to get in because of ppl blocking it if a police officer stood ther for 1 day an watched drivers i bet he would hand out loads of tickets

  • 'Fraid for my life
    July 28, 2012 - 10:00

    Place very visible cameras on all the larger and problematic intersections - its downright terrifying going through some of those intersections.