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Columnist not practising what he preaches

So there I was, on my way back to the Westside from the Kelowna courthouse. It wasn’t shaping up to be my best day and as I approached the bridge, I remember thinking to myself how a speeding ticket would be the icing on the cake.

I have difficulty with the 60 kilometers-per hour speed limit on the bridge. It’s something about being on a two- or three-lane highway, with a concrete divider and no intersections. It’s not about being in a hurry. It just doesn’t compute for me.

The fact that the rest of the traffic blows by me when I follow the speed limit doesn’t help.

I find that I really need to pay close attention to my speed on that stretch of Highway 97 because 60 kilometres per hour feels so slow. I got my icing. I was flagged down at the bottom of Bridge Hill at the west end of the bridge and ticketed for driving faster than 80 kilometres per hour.

How ironic, I thought to myself as I dug out my registration and the polite RCMP officer wrote out my ticket. The irony was that I periodically use this column as a soap box from which to preach about following the rules of the road and not being distracted when driving.

I work with the aftermath of car crashes on a full-time basis and want to do my part to try to stop the carnage. Clearly, I wasn’t practising what I preach.

The speed limit on the bridge seems ridiculous to me and I don’t think I’m alone.

In my view, though, it was much more ridiculous to be so lost in my thoughts that I failed to keep track of my speed. I was driving on autopilot. I wasn’t intending to speed. I was day-dreaming. Speeding does contribute to a lot of crashes. In my experience, though, it is a failure to pay attention that’s the more serious problem.

People driving on autopilot have caused the majority of crashes that I’ve dealt with.

For example, you’d be surprised by how often crashes occur when traffic stops and a day-dreaming motorist smashes into the vehicle at the back of a line of traffic. We all need to take more responsibility for our driving—me included.

I got an expensive wake-up call. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

Published April 18, 2010 in the Kelowna Capital News