Driving in BC

With lots of people making the trip out to visit – I thought it only prudent to offer a few observations about the rules of the road here in BC.

The community where we live is just off Highway 97, between Vernon and Kelowna. In the six month we have lived here, there have been over a dozen accidents and 5 people killed. I have named this particular stretch of highway “the speedway”. Not very reassuring given that I have to drive it everyday. I do feel there should be some kind of notification for drivers – to let them know what to expect.  An overhead highway sign such as this:

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But the message would need to be slightly more subtle.

More like:

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No one seems to adhere or even acknowledge speed limits. Speed signs are posted, but I suspect they are unreadable from vehicles that are going Mach 20.  The BC government recently increased the speed limit on the Connector and Coquihalla  Highways to 120 km per hour. The rationale was that the increase would match the limit to the speed that drivers were actually travelling.  Obviously transportation officials haven’t heard “speed kills”.  Now drivers on those highways feel they have been given license to exceed this posted limit by 10, 15 or 20 km.  It has become the Canadian Autobahn.

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The other noticeable oddity in BC is that only 1/2 of the vehicles on the road come equipped with turn signals – or so it seems because not many drivers use them.  I have seen cars thread through 3 lanes of traffic and back again without signalling.  Those individuals who do choose to signal when merging or changing lanes seem to be afflicted with some sort of driver dyslexia – their method is the complete opposite of the process of everyone else in the driving world.  Here,  when a driver decides to change lanes – they just pull over or merge into the new lane. Once in the desired lane – they shoulder check to make sure they haven’t cut off or clipped anyone in the shift, and then they might put on their signal light – just to say they did.  Very bizarre.

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Interesting, when you mention speeding or unsafe driving practices to the locals (my husband included) – it’s not BC drivers…. it’s those “damn Albertans!”  I don’t know if it is Provincial rivalry, or misplaced jealousy but BC people blame Alberta for everything:

Dangerous Drivers:  It’s those damn Albertans driving their big trucks and SUVs.

Crowded Lakes:  It’s those damn Albertans coming to the Okanagan to enjoy summer on the water.

High Gas Prices:  It’s those damn Albertans and their oil.

Beef Prices are on the rise:  It’s those damn Albertans and their massive cattle ranches, trying to meet consumer demands for organic meat.

Strong Housing Market:  It’s those damn Albertans coming in and buying up vacation properties at market price.

BC Teachers On Strike:  It’s those damn Albertans setting the example by paying their teachers a decent wage, and restricting class sizes.

I mean really – you  damn Albertans!  How dare you come into BC with your hard-earned tax dollars, and fully support the tourism industry while you are here!

Sustaining the region’s producers by purchasing fruit and wine to take home.

Buying groceries from local establishments during your vacation.

Staying in Okanagan hotels and eating meals in restaurants while you are here.

Filling up the enormous gas tanks in your trucks and boats while you are in BC , despite the fact that gas is cheaper in your own province.

And then to top it off, you have the nerve to speed and never signal on BC highways.

I can’t believe it ……… and I don’t.

I see the BC license plates blowing by me on HWY 97 in the morning on my way to work , and I see for sale signs being taken down from houses that have been on the market since last summer when we first visited, being purchased by someone from Alberta.  I say good on you.

And if you Albertans ever get tired of being the scape-goat, you could move to BC.  Drive around in your diesel Subaru that you only fill up once every three weeks, eat your 100 mile diet and when you get stressed – stop by a neighborhood walk in clinic to get your medicinal Marijuana prescription.

 

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