EDITORIAL: Pay attention when behind the wheel

We say: Be road-wise. There is a whole lot going on for even the most experienced driver to take in.

Anyone who has driven on B.C. roads for any length of time has been there – a vehicle races past you at speeds well above the posted limit and then immediately cuts you off with a dangerous lane change.

Then there are the drivers who’ll race through a stale yellow light, rather than wait two minutes for the next green, or the ones who jump the green to get in a left turn before oncoming traffic has a chance to move.

There is no shortage of aggressive drivers on our roads. As much as we all know it’s illegal and incredibly dangerous, it’s behaviour we’ve all come to expect and, to some degree, accept.

We might sigh, and ease our foot off the accelerator a little bit, just to give the aggressor a chance to move a bit farther along and minimize our own risk of getting caught up in any carnage they might generate.

But it’s so common, it barely raises an eyebrow.

Regardless, on roads as busy as the ones British Columbians drive every day –  roads that handle everything from cyclists to semis – there is a whole lot going on for even the most experienced driver to take in.

We’ve all witnessed terrible accidents on the roads where police, firefighters and paramedics are fighting to save lives.

Regardless of whether the cause  was speed, distraction, road conditions, vehicle malfunction or some combination — unless it was a medical emergency, we’re also pretty certain that it could have been avoided.

Whether it’s slowing down, paying closer attention or ensuring a vehicle is properly maintained, we all have a responsibility to ensure that our actions don’t put others in harm’s way.

As winter approaches, all drivers – not just new ones – need to pay closer attention to everything that is going on around them.

It’s a matter of life and death for all of us.