(Metro photo)

Editorial: Speeding through other people’s neighbhourhoods

We’ll call this driver amnesia.

It’s amazing how many people seem to forget all of the things drivers do that frustrate and anger them as soon as they themselves get behind the wheel.

Have you ever witnessed that scene in a parking lot where someone comes out of a shop and heads toward their car, only to be almost mowed down by someone driving too fast in the lot and not giving pedestrians the right-of-way? Perhaps the pedestrian shouts at the driver or shows them the middle finger, perhaps they are calmer and just shake their head, commenting to their companion about terrible drivers. And then the pedestrian gets into their own vehicle, whips out of their parking spot with nary a look behind them for those on foot, and guns it through the very same spot where they were almost hit, expecting all to make way.

We’ll call this driver amnesia.

It doesn’t just take place in parking lots, either. How many people are angry when traffic speeds down their residential street, creating noise, exhaust and endangering the kids who may be playing in the street, or those walking their dogs? How dare someone speed through my neighbourhood, they seethe, often not quietly.

And yet, when they get into their own vehicle, how often do they think of the people in the neighbourhoods through which they speed? Unless you’re on the highway, every road has people living off of it who want traffic to respect their community. Because that’s what it’s about in the end. Respect.

Consider the problems on Kaspa Road on Mount Tzouhalem, where there is a trailhead for adventure seekers. Would we be having these discussions if the drivers heading to the trailhead showed a modicum of respect for the neighbourhoods they are travelling through? If they slowed down so as not to kill deer, endanger walkers and roar past quiet homes there would be far fewer issues and residents wouldn’t be begging the Municipality of North Cowichan to do something, perhaps even as extreme as closing the trailhead.

The crazy thing is that in all of these situations drivers are not saving time by disregarding and endangering the people whose neighbourhoods they are traversing. Residential streets are rife with speed bumps, stop signs and turns. What will they save, a few seconds at best?

As a rule of thumb, drivers should take a deep breath and stop to consider not just their destination, but how they feel when they are not the ones behind the wheel, but instead are the ones walking out on the street. A cure for driver amnesia.

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