In my Anthropology class, a fellow student has a home made DVD that he keeps with his Lap-Top that shows footage of a Back-Up camera attached to his vehicle. These cameras are all the rage among those who do deliveries, or work in the commercial-contracting end of business, and I am seeing them on smaller cars too from those who drive casually. The cameras are small, almost indistinguishable on the vehicle, and serve a multitude of functions besides just seeing object as you are backing up. So when you hook a recorder up to it, and record yourself driving, you see the real world of driving in the great Fraser Valley of British Columbia.
This particular vehicle has two cameras on it, one facing directly back at about 108 degrees and is used for spotting objects at the rear, and another facing downward towards the bumper, so you can get as close as you can to the object without hitting it. The digital recorder was hooked up to the camera facing back so that you can see the view behind you during all phases of the trip.
The DVD is about thirty minutes in length and shows the typical route taken from the driver’s home travelling to the college in Surrey. What we saw just in the first ten minutes of the video was, well, supports everything I say about Lower Mainland drivers–we all suck at driving! As soon as the camera is turned on, you see the garages door close and disappears as the car turns onto the road. Within that first twelve seconds of the footage, the very first vehicle that meets up with the camera is literally coasting between 2.5m to 3m in distance travelling at 60Km/h.
At the first intersection the camera catches three vehicles dashing the yellow light at the crossing point and a cyclist peddling through the red light.
Although difficult to see people inside the vehicles because of the reflection of light off the wind shield, I could see people flicking their cigarettes butts out from the side windows–even one “fast-food” bag getting tossed out.
After the viewing, I realized that we are pigs. We have a serious problem as a society. Our vehicle dependency, cast along side our “me-first” attitude has created a battle field effect, and not surprising the statistics of accidents backs that up. We think that our roads, vehicles and time spent on them is a rite, a rite that if someone is in front of us while we are engaging in our driving, we lash out with stupid driving habits of our own. I know from first hand experience that we suck at our driving habits. When I took my commercial driving course, the instructor gave me my evaluation before I started the course, and I had so many bad habits that he asked me to take the lowest module first and then work my way up! When I asked him what percentage of drivers he request that they start from square one, he said 90 percent!