Valerie’s Voice in La Ronge: highway fury

Traffic heads north across Diefenbaker Bridge and out of Prince Albert. -- Herald file photo

I think I can safely define that every time I go south on the highway I encounter some driver or more who drive with no care for other people on the road, I hear the complaints from other people frequently.

Coming north one time I encountered one vehicle travelling at a high speed on a. rainy night, passing me on a solid line, a curve and an incline. I tried to keep up with the vehicle for a while to get the licence plate number but, decided that was an unsafe decision as well. There is never anyone around to catch these drivers when these incidents occur it seems. What do we do to protect ourselves?

A driver making those decisions has no respect for the people in their vehicle with them or for anyone else’s life who might be also travelling on the highway. If people want to take risks with their own lives, that is their decision. I seriously object to people take risks with my life. Like many others I also feel unprotected.

One of the most consistent problems I run into whether it’s around town or on the highway is tailgating.

I have struggled with what to do and decided to slow for tailgaters. That has its challenges as well.

I have decided to create a sign for the back of the car and now have a message to put on the sign.

“With respect, I slow for tailgaters.”

Now I have to get a sign made that will fit on the back of the car, as there is just so much room. The licence plate is in the middle of the back instead of on the bumper.

I have no idea what drivers think entitles them to take, not only their own and often their families lives, other others, including mine, into their hands in a dangerous way.

We frequently have people on unsteady feet on our highway through town. Dog, cats or other animals could run out and often do. These incidents make tailgating very dangerous as there is no chance for the vehicle behind to stop so the risk of something getting hit is compounded by the risk of the vehicle tailgating hitting you.

When vehicles come at high speeds behind me, it’s scary. I have been hit from behind so am more than a little leery of this happening. I try not to slam on my brakes, but sometimes that is unavoidable. One should always be able to see where the back tires hit the road on the vehicle ahead of you. A helpful tip, especially for tailgaters.

I remember a few years ago, before moving to La Ronge, I did a story for the paper I was working with at the time, with a Highway Collision Reconstructionist. This man had much education and mor than 20 years’ experience with the RCMP and could be considered an expert witness by the courts because of those attributes. It was his job to figure out the cause when there was a highway fatality.

The story remains one of the most interesting I’ve covered over the years.

What he told me, the message he wanted to get out to the public – speed is the cause of most accidents.

My first husband worked in highway construction for many years and I remember him telling me that roads are constructed for vehicles to travel at certain speeds. Travelling faster than the road speed is one aspect that puts, not only the speeding driver, but also other people travelling on the road, in danger.

I also remember a hot summer day on the TransCanada Highway in northwestern Ontario, when I assisted a family and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) after a speeding vehicle passed a truck pulling a trailer and cut in too short causing the driver the brake. The trailer jackknifed causing the truck also to flip over. The consequences, a seven-year-old boy died throwing is family into tremendous grief, much stress and heartache for people who stopped to assist and for a very tired police officer in the middle of a forest fire. The little car sped on seemingly unaware of the chaos caused by their action.

People get in a hurry and don’t think about the consequences, often until it is too late for someone, which is not necessarily themselves, but innocent people travelling the highways.

Please try to travel safely and think about the lives of people on the road, your own and others.