angry driver

We used to live in a courteous world, a more formal world.  One where people were called “Mister” or “Miss” and where the door was always held open by the person entering immediately in front of you.  That courtesy may have also been evident on the roadway.  Now? Not so much.

Being a safe and responsible driver takes a combination of knowledge, skill, and attitude. It stretches beyond simply knowing and obeying the laws of the roads. Honestly, it takes a little courtesy.

Is photo radar helping?

The police would have us all believe that travelling a few kilometres over the speed limit leads to dreadful accidents.  “Speed Kills” campaigns and all of that.

While excessive speed can be very dangerous, almost 25 years in the business of dealing with loss caused by motor vehicle accidents gives us a unique perspective in looking at the cause of collisions.

There are certain areas of our good city where all of us would agree: the speed limits are ridiculous. Typically, photo radar is set up in these locations as the City’s Finest continue with their unrelenting efforts to separate Edmonton drivers from their cash. Is this making our city safer?

Don’t misinterpret these remarks. Excessive speed in any situation is dangerous. When you hear about horrible collisions, you often will hear that “speed was a factor”. Of course, it’s usually also that intoxication, poor driving, lack of judgment, and other reasons are in play. Speed is ALWAYS a factor when there is a traffic accident. If your vehicle strikes something, you were ALWAYS approaching that something at a speed too great for the circumstances, whether it was 10 kph or 100 kph.  Reporting that “speed was a factor” really sheds little light on the root cause of the accident.

In many cases, it’s a simple lack of courtesy that is the root cause of accidents. Generally speaking, traffic should flow. Sudden changes in speed often result in accidents. What causes sudden changes in speed? Unavoidably, sometimes there is an accident ahead. If a lane is blocked, congestion will ensue.

Here’s where the suggestion for courteous driving comes in:

1. Move out of the way – quickly

If you are in a non-life threatening car accident, take a few quick photos of the roadway and the damage and then move off the road! Exchange your documents on a safe shoulder. This will be safer for you than standing on the roadway and it will allow traffic flow to continue. I can’t tell you the number of small fender benders I run across where everyone is out standing on the roadway and traffic is backed up for miles.

2. No rubbernecking

If you are attempting to pass the accident scene: pay attention to your driving and not the accident! Keep moving, with safety!

3. Merge in an orderly fashion

To get into a single lane, alternate turns. What is with the people who rev up to close a gap when they sense someone getting ahead?

4. Don’t slam on the brakes when approaching photo radar

Quite frankly, photo and laser radar also causes a lot of tail lights to light up. Remember, you don’t have to slow to under the limit!


Although many drivers love to exert a right to drive in whatever lane they choose, that does not help traffic flow.  As a result, driver frustration behind may increase because there will be a slowdown for that lane.

6. Don’t block the right lane at a red light

If you are not turning right, consider not sitting in the curb lane at a red light. You are impeding the progress of others.

7. Show your appreciation

Remember, a smile and a wave go a long way. Try it, you may even find it brightens your own “road mood”. Cranky and angry drivers are probably more prone to make driving mistakes than those who are relaxed.

8. Be courteous to others on the road

Driving well is more than just obedience to the rules. You must care about the safety of others on the road. Everyone is responsible for avoiding collisions. Drivers have to cooperate to keep traffic moving safely and freely. Courteous driving means giving other drivers space to change lanes, not cutting them off, and properly signalling turns and lane changes.

9. Practice defensive driving

A courteous driver is a good defensive driver. Courtesy includes ensuring good visibility and space.

10. Pay attention

You should always be aware of traffic in front, behind, and beside you. Keep your eyes constantly moving, scanning the road ahead and to the side, and checking your mirrors regularly. The farther ahead you look, the less likely you will be surprised by something ahead.

11. Be seen

Use appropriate signal lights and headlights. Don’t roll along in the blind spot of the car beside you on the road. Drop back or move forward.

12. Leave plenty of space

Manage the space around your vehicle. Don’t tailgate and get out of the left lane if there are vehicles on your tail.

13. Mind your own business

There are a certain number of “nanny” drivers out there who feel the need to gesture and comment regarding the driving of others. Stop caring if someone passed you, sped up beside you, or went through a yellow light. Be responsible for yourself, be courteous, and hopefully – it will catch on.

Car accident lawyers in Edmonton

Hopefully these tips will result in safer roads for all of us. Unfortunately, we cannot control the actions of others, and even if we exercise the tips listed above, we are still at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. The experienced car accident lawyers at Robinson LLP can help you settle a claim and get the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

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