Posts Tagged ‘cars’


By Matthew Casey

Sometimes I just need to vent to make myself feel better.  One thing that really gets me is how ridiculously stupid the drivers in Toronto can be.  I know we all have stupid moments behind the wheel but some of the stuff that I see people do in this city just defies explanation.

For instance just look at the driving schools here.  I was behind a student driver a couple of weeks ago and he was going through a large intersection.  I was shocked when I noticed the instructor motion for the student to change lanes in the middle of the intersection.  Where I’m from it was a rule that you don’t change lanes in an intersection! So this got me thinking that if a driving school teaches these people to drive like this, than it is no surprise why this city is so full of horrible drivers and high insurance rates!

So here is a list of some things that people do in Toronto that have cemented in my mind that this is the city of the worst drivers.  It can’t be a coincidence that Canada’s Worst Driver is filmed here.

The Top 15 Signs that Toronto Drivers Are the Craziest:

  1. Backing up on a major freeway because they missed their exit.
  2. When I’m stupid enough to be going 120 km/h in a 100 km/h zone and they are still flying past me like I’m a Sunday Driver.
  3. Honking at me when I won’t make a right hand turn on a red light with a sign that says “NO RIGHT ON RED”.
  4. Honking at me when I won’t make a left turn on a red light after the four cars ahead of me have already rushed through it.
  5. Honking at me when I won’t proceed through an intersection when the light has been red for only a couple seconds.
  6. Trying to squeeze around me to make a right turn at a red light when there is only one lane and a sidewalk beside me that leaves barely enough room for a shopping cart to move beside me, but they think that their Ford Windstar will fit.
  7. They slam on their brakes for no apparent reason.
  8. They tailgate me so close that one could not fit a credit card between my rear bumper and their front bumper.
  9. When they don’t know what lane to be in they drive down the middle of two.  Clearly, that is the SAFEST choice.
  10. Trying to pass me on the right on an on-ramp to a freeway that is only one lane.
  11. Honking at me because I can’t go any faster than the vehicle in front of me, but yet they seem to think that they could in my position.
  12. Thinking that they own the lane and refuse to let me merge into it.  I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was the AWSD 923 express lane only.
  13. Honking at me because I didn’t floor the gas pedal as soon as the light turned green.
  14. Jumping in front of me when I am leaving a safe distance between me and the vehicle in front of me.
  15. Apparently signal lights are merely for decoration, hardly anyone uses them so they just cut in front of me.

That’s my rant.  I feel better now. I’m not saying that I am a better driver than anyone but I just tend to use common sense on the road.  Really, what do people think? A car is a heavy piece of equipment and when it hits something it isn’t going to just gently bounce off of it like it was a bubble.  So we should all do our part and scrutinize the way we drive to make Toronto roads safer!

Slow down, use common sense, avoid distractions and be considerate to everyone else just trying to get from point A to point B like you!

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In  Toronto fourteen pedestrians have been killed in the last month in motor vehicle/pedestrian accidents.  These numbers are shocking  as that works out to be about two people per day being struck and killed by a vehicle in the city.   Most of these accidents occurred at intersections or marked crosswalks where the pedestrian had the right of way.  But as is plainly obvious, in the battle between human and car, the car will always win most of the time.

Bill Saundercook, a city councilor, is  fighting to have city speed limits reduced by ten kilometers per hour.  Currently in most zones outside of the downtown the speed limits are about 60 km/h.  In my opinion this is far too fast for streets that also channel a lot of pedestrians.  It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that the faster a vehicle is traveling the more likely the pedestrian being struck is going to die.  These speeds lead to decreased time for drivers to react to an obstacle that suddenly appears in front of them.

According to a study conducted by NRMA Insurance, risks of death or injury double when motorists violate a speed limit of 60 km/h by a mere 5 km/h faster than the posted limit.  If a motorist travels at 10 km/h above that posted limit the chances of death or injury jumps to an astounding four times the normal rate of a speed at 60 km/h.  In most cases, motorists tend to believe that they can go at least 10 km/h faster than the limit and be alright.  The city should enforce slower limits and have a zero tolerance for even small violations of the limit.

Another study conducted by the province of Quebec found that the average reaction time to apply the brakes of a car at 60 km/h is 1.3 seconds. If the motorist was to spot a pedestrian at 32 metres away, the car will have traveled at least 21.7 meters before the brakes are even applied.  The vehicle will travel a further 18.9 meters before coming to a complete stop.  The total stopping distance at this speed is 40.6 meters making it impossible for a motorist to stop in time before colliding with the person.

The study also looked at a posted speed limit of 50 km/h and found that the reaction time is still 1.3 seconds to apply the brakes. When  a pedestrian is spotted at 32 meters away, the car will have traveled 18.1 meters in the time before the brakes are applied, and it will travel a further 13.1 meters before reaching a full stop.  The total stopping distance is 31.2 meters, making it possible to stop before hitting the pedestrian. So the obvious point here is that slower is safer.  The study even points out that driving a car at 10 km/h above the limit saves the motorist a mere four minutes off of their total trip time.   So speeding is not going to help a motorist in any way.  The only thing it will do is increase the odds of a fatal accident occurring.

If these facts are not enough to convince City Hall that speed limits need to be reduced in the outskirts of the city, then the 14 deaths this month should be more than enough proof.  Hopefully the government will make a decision on lowering speed limits and enforcing them properly in a timely manner before another life is  lost in these needless accidents.

—Matthew Casey

Statistical Information From

http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/publications/prevention/road_slow.pdf

http://www.nrma.com.au/keeping-safe-secure/car-safety/car-stopping-distance-tests.shtml


There doesn’t really seem to be a good way to get around in Toronto.  If you drive you have to put up with traffic jams, if you commute using public transportation it is overcrowded, and if you use your feet to get you places, then one must really be careful!  So far in the last seven days seven pedestrians have been involved in fatal accidents.

One of the big reasons for vehicle-pedestrian accidents according to the Ontario Safety League President Brian Patterson, in an interview with the Toronto Star, is a lack of communication between drivers and people walking.

Everyone seems to be so caught up in their own little world that they don’t see or hear what is going on around them.  People walk with earphones blasting music in their ears and drivers are distracted by all kinds of devices within their cars.   All it takes is one quick glance away from the road to initiate a chain of events that can’t be stopped.

Another big reason is that people are simply in too much of a rush.  Cars are whizzing down streets at incredible speeds in a frantic attempt to arrive somewhere on time.  To this effect, Toronto speed limits on city streets seem to be quite high as they are posted generally at 60 km/h.  The faster the cars move, the more likely an accident will be fatal.  A Toronto city councillor Bill Saundercook is proposing an idea to have speed limits reduced in the city by at least 10 km/h.

In an article in the Toronto Sun Councillor Saundercook says that he doesn’t want people to be afraid to walk.  I believe that if the city is trying to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint, then they should make the streets more pedestrian friendly.  I believe that a reduction in speed limits is wise, and also police should enforce a zero tolerance for people who choose to go faster than the posted limit.

Even with slower speed limits accidents are not one hundred percent avoidable, but hopefully a reduction in speed limits will also reduce the number of fatal accidents to lower levels.

—Matthew Casey

With information from:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/752506–why-7-pedestrians-have-died-in-7-days

http://www.educationforthedrivingmasses.com/2009/09/toronto-councillor-calls-for-lower.html