Tips offered to Langley drivers

Langley Mounties have a few gentle reminders that the traffic laws are just that – laws.

The Langley RCMP are reminding people that the rules of the road are actually laws, not just suggestions.

Cpl. Holly Marks, spokesperson for the Langley RCMP, issued a release this week that included a number of reminders, for people who have just learned to drive, or who have been driving for years:

Stop Signs – It’s not just a suggestion…

Many of us fall into the same bad habits. We forget that a stop sign is telling us to come to a full and complete stop (a complete cessation of movement). How often have you seen a vehicle roll past the stop line, maybe glancing for traffic as they continue on through?  Langley RCMP wants to make sure you know this is not acceptable and unsafe. You may consider this a warning. A violation of the Stop Sign Law will cost you – money and points. Even worse, it could result in a collision where someone is seriously hurt!  

Falling into nearly the same category…  Rolling right turns at red lights.

There seems to be a misperception out there that you don’t need to STOP at a red light when making a right hand turn. This would be wrong! That red light is telling you to stop, and then proceed only when it is safe to do so.  

When we rush, we make mistakes. Most people only look for traffic coming from their left and miss the pedestrian crossing in front of them from the right.  

Look around you when you are out there in your car.  Watch how many people do it. Then consider the likelihood of an eventual collision. Many people barely slow down! Let’s start setting an example for each other.  Think about the young people learning to drive and consider what they see on the roads each day.

Is this how we want future generations of motorists to drive? I think not!

When you approach an intersection controlled by a traffic light that has turned yellow – you must stop if you can do so safely. If the light changes to red while you’re still in the intersection, you could have stopped.

When making a turn, make sure you turn into the nearest lane. Once you occupy the near lane, you can go through your lane change procedure (Mirror, Signal, Shoulder Check, Eyes Front, Change Lanes, Cancel Signal) to move over to a far lane in safety. If you’re turning left, you may want to remember there could be a right hand turn rolling stop coming towards you.  So let’s each stay in our respective lanes.  Of course, this applies to right turns as well…

You know that lever on the left side of your steering wheel? – That’s your signal indicator!

Let’s all make a conscious effort to signal our lane changes so drivers around us know what we’re up to! It just makes sense!   

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how long the seat belt law has been around?  This month marks the 37th Anniversary of its’ inception.  Stunningly, people still don’t wear it!  And some people wear it improperly, either with the shoulder strap under their arm or behind their back.  It serves little purpose to wear it incorrectly, and in fact, injuries could be more severe.  The air bags in newer vehicle can’t do their job unless the seatbelt does its’ job!

Medical Exemptions – some individuals, whether driver or passenger, receive a medical exemption from their doctor to not wear their seatbelt. NOTE: This exemption is only in effect for six months! Therefore, every six months you must return to your doctor and obtain a new certificate.

Distraction….  I know, you think you’ve heard enough…

Unfortunately, drivers are distracted all too often and people are getting hurt. So let’s review…

• A driver cannot wear two earbuds (headphones) – He/she must be aware of what is going on around him.

• You cannot hold your cell phone in your hand and say it’s blue tooth nor can you hold it and use the speaker function.

• Your cell phone cannot be sitting on your lap.

• You cannot quickly ‘check’ your cell phone when sitting in the driving lane of the road at a red light.

• Bluetooth is legal only if the function (answer or hang up) can be performed with a single touch or if it is voice activated.

• You cannot manipulate your GPS as the driver.

The only time a driver can use their cell phone in any way is when they pull off the road and park legally.

While we’ve tried to have a bit of fun with the information above, the reality is these laws are serious and breaking them can be life threatening.  If you as a driver focus solely on safety, you may avoid a very serious collision where someone else hasn’t been as attentive as you.

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