Friday, August 5, 2016

DID YOU FORGET EVERYTHING THE DRIVER TRAINER TAUGHT YOU??


            As of today we are officially halfway through summer/vacation/road construction season. Have you been travelling Saskatchewan’s highways and byways this summer, too? Isn’t that something? Mind you, there are only so many days in a year that are conducive to new highway construction and road repair so it’s a case of short-term pain for long-term gain. We have to put up with the delays if we want to drive on better roads, don’t you think?

            We recently travelled to Macklin, SK, with our Eden Valley Senators baseball team for the annual Saskatchewan Baseball Association’s “Geezerball” Master’s Twilighter Tournament. If you don’t know where Macklin, Saskatchewan is, I can tell you that it is approximately 1330 kilometers, or about 7 hours of one-way continuous travelling time, northwest of Kipling, right on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border 250 klicks west of Saskatoon. It’s a bit of a drive but we did see our share of beautiful Saskatchewan landscapes with the brilliantly coloured fields of yellows, blues and greens of canola, flax and cereal crops oftentimes while sitting in a queue of traffic waiting for the flag-person to flip the sign from “stop” to “slow”.

            While travelling, our truck runs on regular and I run on Dark Roast so one has to be ever so careful when it comes to mapping out our pit stops, if you know what I mean. I can’t be stuck in traffic too long with my intake of liquids. To accommodate these frequent stops and to find the route least-likely to interrupt the drive I Googled a construction map of Saskatchewan and on the map every construction zone is marked by an orange pylon. The entire map appeared orange! Take your pick. It’s going to be painful anyway you go.

            But, you know, it is what it is and road construction is a part of travel but there are still road ethics to be followed. We’re all in this together, aren’t we? If we are all a little patient and cooperate with one another we will all get where we are going eventually. But noooooooo. There are always those one or two drivers who are completely selfish and think that road rules never apply to their “don’t you know who I am?” attitudes. “I am so much more important than you! “Zipper merging” is not even in my vocabulary! Why should I wait for you peons? Outta my way!”  

Then the faceless jerk flies down the suicide lane thinking all sixty-eight of the cars in the lineup must be out of gas, or something, or are just sitting there taking in the scenery and as I see him blowing by the passenger door of our truck I’m thinking…don’t let him in, don’t let him in, don’t let him in…but somebody always does and like the proverbial spoiled child the !*$%#@# gets his way and does not learn anything from his bad behaviour and poor judgment.

             I am far from a perfect driver but I’ll compare my 40+years of driving stats with anyone’s, and, having said that, I cannot believe how many dangerous and stupid drivers there are out on our roads. Did they forget everything they were taught in Driver’s Ed?

You know what? In many areas of life one needs to perform continuing education. Whether you are a teacher or doctor or fitness trainer or whatever there are courses one takes yearly to keep you engaged and reinforce lessons learned. I would propose to SGI that there be a mandatory bi-annual driver’s refresher clinic to review proper driving practices and to enhance one’s driving skills. They don’t even need to retest everyone just put them through the paces so they don’t forget everything they learned moments after the driver tester handed them their first driver’s license.

So if you are going to be out travelling the Saskatchewan roads sometime in the remainder of the summer please be careful on our highways and be kind to your fellow travelers because all they want is to reach their destination safely and in a timely manner as well. Don’t we all?

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.” -Dave Barry, (1947-).

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