Courtesy aids safe driving

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It would be nice to see a kinder, gentler approach on our streets

How many times over the Christmas season do we hear the words "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men" or "I wish we could have the spirit of Christmas all year long". Well, I've been thinking about that, thinking that there maybe a way that we could have that Christmas spirit all year long. That spirit of giving, that spirit of a kinder gentler people. Peace on earth, goodwill towards other drivers, perhaps.


Do you find yourself at the end of a side street trying to get out onto the busy main arteries of Pictou County? You just sit there and you wait, and you wait, and you wait. Not one driver will give you a break. All you want to do is get out on the road and get to work on time. But no sir, not one person will give you a break. Last week I found myself at an intersection in Pictou County where there was no advanced green. The person ahead of me was wanting to turn left, and the oncoming traffic would not let this person cross traffic to make the left. This in turn caused a backup of traffic behind us. I don't how many cars it was, but we sat behind that person for two lights. Twice the light turned green and all the traffic oncoming was allowed to pass and proceed without obstruction to get to their destinations. They had no thought to let the person make the left turn. They had no thought for the traffic backed up.   If only one person had allowed the person in front of us to turn left there would have been no traffic backup. 


In another situation last week, I was trying to turn off of a side street onto a main artery, turning left of course.  Mine was the first car at the stop sign. There was a bus stopped on the main street and several cars were stopped behind it, as they should.  They were waiting for the children to board the bus. As this was happening, a string of traffic was backing up behind me. You would think that one of those cars, all at a complete stop behind that school bus, would think to let some, maybe just one, of the cars out onto the main road. This I would think it's common courtesy. But no, not one person would stop.


What's the big deal, why can't they just let the next person go?  Inquiring to Inspector Heighton of the Stellarton Town Police, he confirmed my thought that if we were all just a little more courteous in our driving habits that there would be less accidents. Constable Ken McDonald of the New Glasgow police said upon questioning on ECFM's Watercooler of January 16, "Courtesy has a lot to do with safe driving, we all need to have a little more patience."


Why are we all in such a hurry to get everywhere we are going? Are we always late? Or is it just that we've lost patience? Have we completely lost sight of the other people around us? And what of that kinder gentler people that we become at Christmas time?


As we move into this new year, I challenge you to pay it forward. The next time you get in your car to drive across our county, take a moment, maybe two, and be courteous, consider other drivers. Be considerate of that driver that's been trying to get onto that main road and no one will give him a break. Really, what's a few seconds?  It could be you who needs the break tomorrow.  If we all pay it forward just once today, I think that our roads would be that much safer and kinder place to be.

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Recent comments

    January 31, 2013 - 15:13

    Why would we not just follow the rules of the road? I would say this approach yeilds unpredictability on the roads and lends itself to more traffic accidents. 'OUT OF TOWNER' hit the nail on the head. Perhaps everyone in Pictou County would be better served re-reading their drivers handbook to understand a rotary and a 4-way stop.

  • Drive Thru
    January 31, 2013 - 15:11

    I could not disagree more with the articles author. This line of thinking presupposes that everyone driving is a good or experienced driver or familiar with the so authors rules of the road . The author of the article suggests being a courteous means you stop and let opposing traffic cross or let someone out of a side street into traffic. Well what is courteous about stopping traffic behind you? Your responsibility as a driver is not to play traffic cop. It’s to drive your vehicle safely, and keep traffic flowing in the direction you are driving. If the writer has a problem with traffic flow in the county then maybe he/she should be contacting the various towns and county to ask for more 4 way stops, round abouts, and traffic lights. Asking drivers to hold up other drivers so that someone can make a left turn, or get out of a side street is not the answer.

  • Out of towner
    January 31, 2013 - 08:37

    Being a courteous driver is what is wrong with Pictou County drivers. you should never hold up traffic to let someone go. This happens on the roundabout in Stellarton all the time when someone will stop in the middle of it to let some in, it’s just going to cause an accident because you are trying to be "nice". Just drive safe and follow the rules of the road. The traffic in this town in never too busy for you to wait to get onto a main street, and if it is, just turn right and go around, like you said are you really in that much of a hurry?

  • Odin
    January 28, 2013 - 21:25

    I would just make two observations regarding your comments. If you are sitting at a light waiting to turn left why can you not creep into the intersection, and if you don't get the chance to turn on the green, turn on the amber. You are allowed to clear the intersection. That's just an example of a driver being too passive. Also, on a four lane street, if the car in the inside lane stops to let a car turn left, what happens if the car coming up in the outside lane doesn't stop? Bang, you've got a collision, all because someone thought he, or she were being " courteous" The same thing applies if you are waiting to turn from a side street onto a four lane street. The rules of the road don't allow you to stop wherever you please on a main thoroughfare just to let a car turn in front of you. How many rear end collisions have occurred because someone stops when the car behind them doesn't expect it?