Have you ever been driving along the highway, only to suddenly feel your vehicle vibrate because you’ve drifted over the road surface markings? Thankfully these were there to guide you back into your lane and (hopefully) make you more focused on your steering. However, these types of mechanisms aren’t always in place, making many lane departures the cause of car accidents in Vancouver.
Lane departures are often a result of distracted driving, which is the third leading cause of fatal collisions in BC. Using a cell phone or performing other activities that divert a driver’s attention from the road caused a quarter of all crashes between 2008 and 2012.
While new cell phone laws have been implemented to help avoid these types of collisions, lane departures aren’t solely due to distracted driving. Most people turn their body when they turn their gaze and look away from the road ahead. This is a common and unconscious habit that many drivers are unaware of. Other causes can be a simple shoulder check or looking at a car travelling next to you. Operating a manual window crank or adjusting mirrors can also cause a driver to drift out of the lane.
Lane departures are often a result of distracted driving, which is the third leading cause of fatal collisions in BC.
There is a new technology that ICBC recommends to deter this problem from occurring called Lane Departure Warning (LDW). Available in select vehicles, LDW activates when your vehicle is drifting without a turn signal on. When this happens, an audible alert, visual display, or other warning signal occurs, reminding the driver to take corrective actions. LDW’s are a valuable safety benefit to keeping you and your passengers safe. According to Mark Lyons, personal injury lawyer, “In the end, technology is never a substitute for simply paying attention to the road ahead. Most accidents are the result of momentary carelessness or inattention, – the consequences can be tragic but totally preventable.”
If your vehicle does not come with this type of technology, there are simple driving techniques you can start practicing. Aside from limiting the time your eyes are off the road to an absolute minimum, make sure your hands are not moving the steering wheel when turning or tilting your head. Another solution may be to “listen” to the inner ear for the changes in the travel vector and look in the direction of travel as much as possible.
These types of safety measures all come with practice. If you’re concerned that you’re a ‘drifter’, bring an experienced passenger along for the ride and ask them to watch your driving habits. Another set of eyes and ears will help make you a more dependable, safe driver.