If you’re happy and you know it…
As a driving instructor for Young Drivers of Canada I often get a new training vehicle every couple of years. It’s important to keep a vehicle that runs well and looks good for our students. A reliable vehicle responds well when it’s asked to. We also teach our students to run with their low beam headlights on so other drivers can spot us coming, whether the sun creates a glare or if the weather is dull and overcast. We want to ensure other drivers know we’re there, without making us look much different than any other vehicle.
Well, not everyone has the same idea about what a safe vehicle is. My son and I were out one day recently and spotted this interesting vehicle. In my opinion, it created more than it should for other drivers. It was such an interesting looking vehicle, that actually made drivers look at it; not glance at it. It was more than noticeable in traffic.
While we were stopped in traffic I had the opportunity to glance inside the vehicle as well. I saw a variety of items all across the dashboard and ceiling. I guess you could say they really enjoyed the happy face symbol, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t those items also serve as a distraction for the driver? We’ve heard so much about how cell phones have created a distracted driving environment, but smiley faces?
I can picture drivers passing them or being passed by them and because it’s such a different looking vehicle, it would or could cause other drivers to look longer than needed at it. Now, keep in mind that where you look is where you go, other drivers may end up drifting toward their lane since their vehicle was quite something to look at. Did the driver of this unique vehicle realize they were actually creating a visual distraction for other drivers? Did they even care?
I can also picture another driver looking at it and perhaps miss a stop sign, red light, another vehicle stopped ahead of them or perhaps even a pedestrian crossing the street; all because it’s that unique of a vehicle. The sight of it did make my son and I chuckle though. I was glad we were stopped and not in motion as it was tempting to look at.
There can be incidental distractions from vehicles like a noisy exhaust system, visible damage from a minor collision or perhaps even just a nice looking vehicle to look at. Those types of distractions are far more common and usually only last a couple of seconds as a distraction. This yellow vehicle would and had lasted more than a couple of seconds as a visual distraction. Long enough to take the attention away that another driver would need to drive safely.
I agree and respect someone for wanting to be creative and unique, but if it can create problems with other road users, it may not be a wise choice. We need to work together and allow other drivers to focus on their driving and leave the personal distractions at home. Go ahead and have a smiley face, but keep it on your face and not plastered all across your vehicle.