Preaching to the converted…about driving?
Preaching; I’ve done it for years. No, not in a church; in the classroom and car and it’s been about driving not religion. A number of times I’ve preached about safe driving practices to the already converted. That’s an easy sermon. It’s to the non-converted that becomes more difficult. The same can be said if you’re trying to convince someone of your point of view and they just don’t want to listen. How many times have you felt frustrated over this?
At Young Drivers of Canada we’ve got a unique driving system. It was derived from the legendary “Smith System” years ago, but from experiences, we’ve changed some of the techniques to help improve it with the trends of traffic patterns and crashes. To many drivers over the years, it seemed unusual and strange to drive this way. Have you ever been accused of driving safely, but in a strange or different manner compared to other drivers? That’s not always a bad thing.
My students would often tell me how their family members would tell them they were driving incorrectly whenever they were out practicing. The fact was they were driving correctly. It was just different than what their family member was used to. The big difference was how early my students were slowing down for problems up the road; such as red lights, stop signs, stopped vehicles and crossing guards. I’ve seen so-called experienced drivers drive right up to crossing guards and then stop suddenly. How risky is that for these guards and the kids they help to cross the street safely?
I once knew someone who was a crossing guard when he was between jobs. He was a big man and with a reflective vest on, he was hard to miss. However, there was a time when a driver ‘bumped’ into him while he was standing in the crosswalk with his stop sign clearly up. Why didn’t the driver see him sooner? Were they distracted or perhaps not looking well enough ahead to see him soon enough to stop?
Either way, that’s no excuse. There are always a number of signs indicating a school crossing. Just take a look at the signs in these photos. In some cases, there are flashing lights around the sign to help the drivers spot them. I guess the next thing the authorities will need to come up with is a system that will speak to you to let you know that a crossing guard is helping kids cross the street. Maybe a loud speaker that says “Slow down; there are kids crossing up ahead.” would help the situation.
It’s a tough enough job for crossing guards to help keep the kids between the crosswalks without having drivers making their job more difficult. Help the community by looking at least a couple of blocks ahead and moving your eyes across the wide scene. This will help you spot any potential problems early enough to respond to them in a safe manner. Who knows; it may even help protect your own kids.