EDITORIAL: Let’s really think about our driving

West Shore driving habits are starting to attract negative attention

Every driver has been held up by traffic at one time or another. On the West Shore, sitting in your vehicle and waiting is a fact of life.

But there’s a big difference between being delayed on the Trans Canada Highway as you’re driving into town and having to wait for children leaving or getting to school to clear a crosswalk.

Outside Ruth King elementary in Langford, the school’s crossing guard is finding that the kids she tries to keep safe are being put in jeopardy on an almost daily basis, because some drivers travelling through the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Jacklin Road don’t appear to have the same value for children’s safety.

This long-established school has seen development and traffic increase around it, but that doesn’t let drivers off the hook for observing the basic rules of the road.

We must be even more conscious of our surroundings in a school zone, especially if we happen to be driving at a time when children are arriving or heading home from school. Drivers’ impatience, or the fact they might be behind schedule, does not trump the safety of pedestrians. Ever.

One of the facts about driving is that people’s bad habits don’t change overnight. It usually takes something serious to happen, like a crash, maybe a heavy fine or in the worst case, hitting a pedestrian or cyclist – some life-changing incident – to force us to look at how we operate when we get behind the wheel.

The lack of motivation to change our behaviours on the roads stems from an absence of consequences. A big part of that is the lack of visible police enforcement. But the decision to change has to come from within, and police can only do so much in that regard.

Linda, the beloved crossing guard at Ruth King, is at her wit’s end these days because of drivers who ignore pedestrian safety. She has indicated this will be her last school year in the job, because she doesn’t want something bad to happen on her watch.

Neither do we. Giving more thought to the safety of others when we’re driving can never be a bad thing.

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