Sunday, 12 September 2010

In your own time please.........zzzzzzzzzzz

After a rainy afternoon taking the piss of my fellow British Columbians and their relaxed attitude to green stop lights, I'm convinced that someone must be dumping THC in the water supply. Normal drivers the world over see the green light and are off the starting blocks like greyhounds out of the trap as follows;
Light changes to green
Here in our part of BC there seems to be a different imperative. The sequence goes like this;
Light changes to green
Look around startled as if you've been caught naked in public
Check radio is on
Scratch head
Examine steering wheel
Seem to realise that you're doing the driving
Depress accelerator, and apologise for getting it down
Move forward
I regularly see people taking a full five seconds to react to a traffic light change (Normally via my rear view mirror). Have no idea what they've been drinking or smoking, but it must be wicked stuff.

Of course it's very frustrating if you're behind them in the same lane at an intersection, and choruses of 'Why are we waiting' can often be heard emanating from the Drivers seat of our truck or van. That and cries of "When you're ready!" Sometimes the fun never starts.

Upon reflection, this reticence to get on with the business of driving may well be a learned reflex on the part of the locally trained motorist, as the average British Columbian pedestrian has an unnerving habit of stepping straight out into the road without pausing to look; crossing or no. The local rules of the road say that pedestrians have priority, and running them over is verboten, but locally I've never seen so many people with an avid death wish. Mrs S and I are of the opinion that those who leave the island ne'er to return do so because they have been run over in a foreign clime. Perhaps they belong to the local chapter of the Euthanasia Society and can't bear the thought of another meeting. All I know is that a good many of the local pedestrians seem to be bucking for a Darwin Award. And I thought the local Deer population were bad enough.

A pedestrian who simply stepped off the kerb into a two lane highway this afternoon left me feeling glad my reflexes, honed through years of riding and driving in the UK, are still in good shape. As are my brakes.


Angry Exile said...

Do they have an amber phase between red and green? I've always thought the lack of an amber light telling drivers to sort the gears out and get ready for the green light is the reason why the traffic here often takes a long time to go when the lights change.

Bill Sticker said...

Nope, just the standard Green, Amber, Red, and back to Green. The same behaviour in the UK, or even New York would draw the opprobrium of other drivers within two seconds. Here we just wait for them to wake up.

Angry Exile said...

I think the UK must be unusual in having the Green, Amber, Red, Red+Amber, Green sequence. I've not seen anywhere else that gives you a couple of seconds warning before the light goes green, and it's caught me out more than a few times here. I always used to watch the other roads on a junction as well as the light because what the traffic's doing can tell you what phase their lights are on, knowing that if I check my light often enough at worst I'm going to catch the end of the amber. When I moved here and started doing that I kept coming back to my light to find it had already gone green and dumbly thinking 'when'd that happen?' while Mrs Exile had giggle fits in the passenger seat.

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