Sunday, April 24, 2005

The World's Worst Drivers Live in Winnipeg

Driving the streets of Winnipeg is a terrifying experience. I suspect we are the world’s worst drivers.

After work on Friday I wanted to fill the propane tank for my BBQ, this meant travelling a different route than the one I usually take. Everyone in Winnipeg had a TGIF attitude, and it showed in their driving.

The first near traffic accident was my fault, as I moved into the oncoming traffic I cut off an oncoming van. Perhaps its driver was driving too quickly and not paying appropriate attention. Nonetheless, I was in a yield lane and ought to have exercised more caution.
I was grateful for the near miss, and I vowed to drive more cautiously.

The next near accident is a puzzler. I knew, as I attempted to make a left hand turn into the business where I would have my propane tank filled, I would have difficulty getting across the four lanes of rapidly moving traffic.

I lucked out, the driver in the lane closest to me stopped, allowing me to begin my turn. The driver in the second lane stopped. The vehicle in the second lane was a van and I could not see into the third lane. I was nervous. The potential for an accident was great. I slowly inched my way into the third lane. A van came speeding along. Fortunately the screeching of brakes and the sudden stopping of the van meant we did not collide.

The driver began shaking her fists at me. Obviously believing I was at fault. It’s a puzzler because I may very well have been at fault. I was cutting her off. Yet, what else could I have done? I was holding up traffic while making a totally legal left-hand-turn.

More and more people are driving vans, 4x4's, and SUV’‘s, for safety reasons. Yet, I wonder how many accidents these types of vehicles are causing because regular vehicles can’t see around them.

After two near misses I wanted to go home. But, I was also determined to get the rest of my shopping chores completed. My next stop was the drug store. The drug store has a parking problem, too many shoppers who come in vehicles and not enough parking spots. I was puzzled, there was a parking spot, but even my subcompact would have difficulty fitting in it. And, it was the only parking spot available. I lucked out, the driver in the vehicle beside the parking spot no one could park in, was leaving.

I carefully parked precisely in the middle of the recently vacated parking spot, got out of my car and noticed that the reason I couldn’t park in the first vacant spot I saw was because the car adjacent to that spot was over the line, taking up two parking spots.

Hogging two parking spots has become increasingly more prevalent, especially by drivers of 4x4's, vans and SUV’s. Attempting to protect their vehicles, when parking is at a premium, they are making life inconvenient for other people.

At this point the driver in the van parked on the other side of my vehicle started yelling at me. According to him, I was discourteous, he was going to have trouble getting out of his parking spot because of the way I was parked.

I looked at how he was parked. Like the car on the other side he was not parked properly. I tried to explain to him he had not parked properly. If he was willing to listen, I would have also explained I was attempting to be courteous, in my opinion, by parking properly I was, unlike him, giving more people the opportunity to park.

But, he was not an intelligent person. He was scruffy looking, his van was filthy and rusty and he was too emotional. After battling traffic for about forty-five minutes, trying my best to think every move through, I resorted to "Shut-up," as I went into the drug store.

Then I remember the times when after parking I’ve returned to a damaged car. Classed as a hit and run because the driver who has hit me left no note letting me know who they are, I’ve had to pay my insurance deductible. I took out my notebook and wrote the license number of the van.

I’ve driven in New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego, Vancouver, and Montreal. Winnipeg has, by far, the worst drivers.

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