This is my space, that is your space
I’ve recently spent a lot of personal time behind the wheel. For the last 21 years as a driving instructor for Young Drivers of Canada, I’ve spent more time letting other people drive, but this year it’s been different. I’ve spent a lot of time driving to different baseball parks to watch our kids play the game they love. Recently while we were driving along a secondary highway on our way home from a game, I experienced a driver coming toward me in my own lane attempting to pass a slower moving vehicle. Would you know what to do to avoid a head on crash?
I first saw the red sports car pull out from behind another driver because I was looking ahead and anticipating potential problems. The lane markings on the road were broken for the oncoming traffic and that always reminds me to look to see what the oncoming drivers might do. I immediately leveled out my speed and moved my mini van onto the shoulder. The little red sports car squeezed back into his own lane just before we got to them.
In Canada each year, roughly 21% of all fatal crashes are head on crashes. For the most part, people watch death and injury approach them. They don’t know what to do. Preparation is always the key to surviving on our roads. As drivers, we need to always know where our escape route is and be ready to use it at any time; regardless of whether we’re in motion or stopped in traffic.
Maintaining speed as I approached the gravel shoulder kept the tire traction balanced and the vehicle stabilized. Leaving enough room in the lane for the oncoming vehicle to use is very possible as the lane is roughly 2 vehicle widths wide. If you leave your left side tires barely on the pavement, you’ll still have traction, plus you’ll give the oncoming driver enough room to pass. While you’re on the gravel shoulder, look well ahead at the edge of the road and that will keep your vehicle moving along smoothly.
Luckily in my situation, the whole event was under control. Was it because I spotted the problem early and gave time for the sports car to complete their pass? Was it because I used the shoulder immediately to give the driver space? The answer is yes on both counts. Know where your escape route is at all times and be ready to use it. Who knows, maybe it could save your life!