(Black Press Media file photo)

Rickter Scale: Time to put the brakes on those creeps behind the wheel

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

Congratulations to the woman in the blue Accord. You’ve just earned three nominations for induction into the Vancouver Island Drivers Hall of Shame.

We’ll never know if you would have bowled over the two women in the crosswalk of the parking lot outside my office if I hadn’t bellowed out a warning. But judging by the startled, sheepish smile that spread across your face while you were hypnotized by your hand-held device, we can assume that it was too close for comfort, especially for the two ladies you nearly nailed.

If they had looked away to check me out (a remote but plausible possibility considering they were slightly south of 70 and I was wearing what the bride describes as my sexy senior shirt) who knows how many lives would have changed forever on that sunny Wednesday morning.

There’s a special suite in the Drivers Hall of Shame reserved for you as well, the traffic circle jerks. Why you pound down the fast pedal and cut off whoever is rolling along at the prescribed speed limit in front of you in a roundabout defies explanation. Unless it’s purely for the purpose of getting through the circle one spot sooner.

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One half-wit habit that drives others to distraction is the flock who haven’t evolved enough to understand the intricacies of the turn signal. You know, that lever you never flick on the left-hand side of your steering column that lets those behind know if a left or right-hand turn is part of your future plans.

Another group of wheel cretins that completely curdle my consternation constantly is the multitude of motorists, many with an L or N attached to their rear end, who feel the need for speed on the Sookahalla. Although this situation unfolds 24 hours a day, it’s even more senseless and galling during rush hour.

I’m talking about you, the driver who blows by you at 120 K plus just as the section of highway shrinks from two lanes to one. What is accomplished by that heart-stopping manoeuvre that scares the crap out of the poor soul you pass? If it’s to guarantee you get to where you’re going exactly one vehicle sooner perhaps it’s time to pay attention to the hollow echo that reverberates whenever you give your empty head a shake.

Equally offensive and dangerous is the driver who magically appears in your rearview mirror out of nowhere, hell bent on driving the rest of the way to or from Sooke six inches off of your back bumper in the passing lane, even though there’s another vehicle in front of you.

I get that life sometimes dictates the need to get from point A to points B, C and D quicker than we have time for. When you think about it, though, we’re all in the same seat, travelling in directions dictated by the hectic pace of schedules we struggle to control. So do us all a solid and slow down, share some common courtesy and reserve your Fast and Furious alter ego for video games and go-kart tracks.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.


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