EDITORIAL: Commute snarl doesn’t take much

No simple solution to keeping traffic moving along Highway 1

A couple of days this past week, minor crashes between vehicles have led to major consequences for hundreds of unsuspecting motorists trying to get into town for work, appointments or other reasons.

Now, we know not all of the traffic tie-ups are crash-related – there is the occasional medical emergency that prompts ambulances, fire trucks and police to snake their way through the line and respond.

But for the most part, it’s drivers either not paying attention to the slow-moving line in front of them or trying to drive more aggressively than the conditions allow for.

It’s a common situation for any metropolitan areas with heavy commuting traffic.

Solving this issue is not as simple as lobbying the Ministry of Highways to eliminate part of the grass median dividing the highway between the Colwood turnoff and a spot just south of the exit to Victoria General Hospital.

Nor would removing the light at the McKenzie/Admirals Road intersection with Highway 1 avoid such a problem, despite the ongoing efforts of former federal election candidate Troy DeSouza.

Not only are both solutions not likely in the cards given the cost, emergency vehicles still need to have room to operate and will still slow down traffic as they do their job, to keep everyone safe.

So that leaves the responsibility for driving safely up to those of us who use the road on a regular basis.

Police have stepped up their watch for people talking on their cellphones while driving  and according to ICBC, volunteers are serving on community deployments keeping an eye out for violators of the province’s ban on cellphone use while driving.

While we can’t be guaranteed someone else won’t do something foolish way ahead of us in the commuting line, we can at least take care of our own driving habits, pay attention and stay off the phone outside of hands-free use.

Reducing the number of cars? That’s a whole other matter and a discussion for another day in this space.