Who should you trust?
How much trust do you have in other people? Remember when you were a kid you were always told not to trust strangers, take candy from strangers, talk to strangers and get a ride from strangers? Why do we change that mentality when we’re behind the wheel?
As drivers, we tend to trust that the rules of the road will protect us from other drivers. Drivers expect other drivers will obey the signs, traffic lights and road markings and therefore not do anything risky to us. Wrong. Look around you for one day while you drive. See how many people are breaking the law while driving. You may be surprised by the high number of violators. I’m sure you won’t have to wait very long before you see drivers “bend” the rules. If there are so many drivers doing this, why would you trust them not to screw up when they’re near you?
I’ve said many times to my students at Young Drivers of Canada; stop signs and red lights don’t stop cars. Drivers stop cars. If the driver didn’t see the stop sign or red light, why would they stop for it? That means we need to look for them to make that mistake so we can do a counter
measure to avoid them.
For example, a tragic crash occurred when a driver ran a stop sign, hit the side of an SUV and killed the driver. http://bit.ly/uqBrRK All of this was preventable. Either driver could have done something to avoid the crash. When we’re walking across the street we check both sides to make sure vehicles aren’t running the light, even though we may have the ‘walk’ symbol. If, as pedestrians, we don’t trust the other drivers to do the proper thing when they’re faced with a red light or stop sign, why would we do that now when we’re driving across the intersection?
The legal responsibility in this tragic crash was for the driver approaching the stop sign to notice the sign and stop accordingly. That alone would have prevented the tragic crash. However, if you do a quick scan of each intersection you are approaching, you can spot the driver running the stop sign or red light and be able to brake to avoid them. At worst case, you may be injured, but the risk of death or severe injury can be reduced
significantly because you did something early.
There’s a saying I’ve used many times; you never find what you’re not looking for. That means if you’re not looking for someone running a stop sign or red light, you won’t see them until perhaps it’s too late. However, if you expect someone will run the stop sign or red light each time you approach the intersection, you’ll be ready to do something about it. Trust yourself and see where it takes you.