I’m driving on highway 97 coming into Vernon, British Columbia a few months ago, roughly October 2016. A car comes up behind me, and passes me. That’s okay. I’m doing about 93 or 95 in a 90 zone. Cars pass me all the time. What was interesting is that this car passed me pretty vigorously. I was near the dump, it’s a highway area, but this car stood out passing me, perhaps doing 105 to 115? I’m just guessing, I appreciate. Being that it was going quickly, I noticed two things. The first were ads for Bev Carlson, a realtor, and the mother I believe of Kiera Leigh Carlson, that were fastened to the side of the car. The second was a bumper sticker, “Slow down for Kiera”. Kiera Leigh Carlson was a lovely young woman, just getting started in life, who was run over by a young man driving like a jackass here in Vernon, BC. He was going way too fast, and went around a corner, and killed her while she was walking to work along the side of a highway. Horrible, just plain awful. Why I write this article is to address the matter of entitlement on behalf of the motoring public. I’ve been a jackass on the roads. I’ve been a jackass a thousand times over. I was the guy that would swerve left at you if I felt that you were too close to the centre line coming the opposite direction. I was also the guy who would tailgate you within a 1/2 car length at 80 to 100 kilometers an hour. “Get the hell out of the way!!” was the thought in my mind. “Holy shit, you’ve got to occupy the passing lane????” was another common mantra in my thoughts.
I had a chance to go away from the world for a while. It was quite a long while, and it was prison. I was there for nothing driving related. Prison is a place where things move very slowly. It gave me a place to think a hell of a lot. I had occasions before I went away where my present mate said to me “William, please slow down” and “William, please stop”. She was near crying at the time. That’s not cool, that’s really fucked up. If you’re driving, and your passengers are afraid, actually scared.. what the hell is going on? STOP. STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING. Bev Carlson is I’m sure a fine parent, who has had to deal with a hell of a lot more pain than most of us about driving. We all need to slow down. Speed kills. It’s easy to get the idea of I’m just tying to move promptly, I have to get somewhere, … but …. it kills. Speed really kills. Following the speed limit will leave you with a lot more time to respond to problems, including deer leaping out, cars pulling out from lanes with no warning, and pedestrians and bicycles riding down the road with no lights at night in the rain (these are all things I’ve encountered recently). I hate to end on a slow down type comment. It seems like such a weak comment. In fact, it’s an empowerment comment. If you slow down, you really take control of what’s around you. You’re able to exercise a lot more control when that deer jumps over the highway barrier in front of you, or the dumb guy on the bike is riding down the highway when it’s raining at 4:30 a.m. in pitch dark with no lights. It gives you that chance, and it’s a really big chance. We’ve all as motorists had something go wrong on the roadway. I’ve never heard anyone telling their “wow, this crazy thing happened while I was driving” story end it by saying they wish they’d been going faster when it happened. This goes to all of us, please, STOP. Take control. The speed limit brings a measure of safety. Lets follow it.