Steve Wallace: Readers shine light on road peeves

Stephen wants to remind all readers of the opportunity to claim rat and rodent damage on one’s insurance. He maintains that depending on the coverage, it can be claimed in the comprehensive portion. There will be differences in the public corporation and private insurance company deductibles, but coverage for rodent damage, so common as of late, is a true reality. The comprehensive package must have been purchased. The fabric softener sheets tied under the hood and various other vulnerable places in the vehicle should be replaced every change of season.

Jim related the occurrence of getting stuck in an automatic car wash facility. There was a help line phone number posted in the bay. He called but there was no answer. It took about ten minutes before a fellow customer pointed out the emergency button. He pushed it, to no avail. He called his wife. She gave him the 800 number for Shell. No answer! He saw the somewhat inconspicuous door open sign and pushed it to escape a fate of seemingly permanent incarceration. It worked, and he was out. Upon recounting his ordeal to the attendant, there was little sympathy. In fact, the employee said it was a common occurrence. With an unconcerned deportment, the employee withdrew. What is the chance Jim returns to that business? Nil!

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Ron is bothered by the intensity of oncoming vehicle headlights at all times of the day and night. He wants to know why drivers engage their fog lights on clear weather days. He is troubled by the simultaneous use of headlights and fog lights. This is a common complaint by many drivers of low riding sedans. There are so many SUV-type vehicles on the road nowadays. The height of these popular vehicles makes it hard on those in sedans. Fog lights and headlights are meant to be engaged separately. The enforcement of the import regulations concerning this requirement has been slack, if not absent altogether. One of my 2000-model vehicles had the fog lights working when the headlights were engaged. The fog lights would only work with the low beam setting. The high beam setting would automatically cancel the fog lights. Weird indeed! This whole mess of misunderstanding about the manufacturer’s responsibility has been an issue for more than a decade. Federal regulations seem to matter little to the enforcement agencies.

Ron wanted additional information about vehicles approaching him on residential streets, when parked vehicles restrict travelled lane space. He is right to assume the lane with no obstructing parked vehicles on the road is his to use without oncoming-vehicle obstruction. He is bothered by drivers who proceed on the parked-vehicle side of the road, forcing him to veer right or stop to afford space to an offending driver. There is no doubt the driver with no parked vehicles on the side of the road has the right-of-way. Most Islanders are very polite and will find a way of accommodating oncoming traffic. When they are unable to do so, the offending driver will be the one with parked cars on their side of the road.

Ron specifically referenced the horses on the side of many narrow rural roads. Drivers should always be extra careful when approaching riders. Horses feel more comfortable seeing approaching vehicles. Never sound a vehicle horn when approaching, regardless of the direction of the approach. It is mandatory that drivers yield and stop if necessary when experiencing horses in a confined space on a rural road. The driver with the horses on their side of the road should yield to accommodate all modes of approaching traffic. Horses can be spooked, cars cannot! Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes, in this case, boots and hooves.

Steve Wallace is the owner of Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island. He is a former V.P. of the Driving Schools Association of the Americas, a registered B.C. teacher and a University of Manitoba graduate.

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