Tim Schewe

Drivesmart column: Drivers who try to bulldoze through others

Inevitably I will end up with nothing but grille showing in my rearview mirror

By Tim Schewe

A reader explains that several times they’ve been on the highway and had someone, usually in a big truck or old car come right up behind, so close that they can’t really see the front of the vehicle. The reader drives a small Toyota and is frightened by this bullying behaviour. The question is, what do you do when you find yourself in this situation?

This might be the most common form of aggressive driving on B.C. highways today. This person speaks of the larger vehicle, which in my experience is almost always exceeding the speed limit, trying to bulldoze them out of the way through intimidation by following too closely.

I find this especially worrying when I try to use an HOV lane. Inevitably I will end up with nothing but grille showing in my rearview mirror and I’m prevented from moving right to get out of the way by the single solid white line. Fortunately the bully usually doesn’t feel obligated and eventually roars by on my right.

Our penalty for either of these offences is a $109 ticket with three penalty points on conviction.

This may be another anachronism, but on a two lane road, if the bully simply sounded the horn, the slower driver would be obligated to yield to the right. Problem solved, and they could get back to exceeding the speed limit again.

Now I hear the bulldozers complaining about people in the left lane refusing to get out of the way. They have a valid point too. If you are slower, even if you are doing the speed limit, you must move to the right lane and let the speeder by. Our government felt that moving out of the way was so important, they added another rule to reinforce this duty.

It’s usually a clue that you are in the wrong lane on a multi-lane highway when traffic starts passing you by on the right side.

What about slow drivers? You know, the ones leading the parade while sight seeing. If they can justify the slow speed in order to maintain safety, then there is nothing to be done. If they can’t, they need to leave the road, stop, let others by, and then go back to their chosen safe speed.

To protect yourself, let the bulldozer by, even if it means pulling over and stopping to do so. I would rather have them in front of me where it is easy to keep an eye on them than behind trying to involve us both in a collision.

Don’t do anything that the bullying driver might see as retaliation for their bad behaviour. Tapping your brakes or slowing down might escalate the situation into a road rage incident with serious consequences for everyone.

You may also wish to record their licence plate number as they pass and report them to police. Dash cam recordings are good evidence to support your complaint even though a prosecution can be successful without them.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

Cowichan Valley Citizen