It’s A Sport

When we made the decision to move to Vancouver Island in British Columbia, we psyched ourselves up for big changes:  rain and gloom in the winter; exorbitantly priced government-administered auto insurance; and laid-back ‘Island Time’ instead of Calgary’s relentless work-hard-play-hard drive.

And speaking of ‘drive’…

Even before we moved, I had an inkling that driving might be, um… different here.  If I was travelling 110 km/hr in Alberta and a vehicle passed me as though I was standing still, I knew it would be either a white Alberta half-ton (for some reason white Alberta half-tons always speed) or a vehicle with BC plates.  And when we went on a holiday a few years ago in the BC interior, we discovered that if we weren’t driving 30 km/hr over the speed limit we were obstructing traffic.

So, fine.  I moved here believing that BC drivers are speed demons.

But they’re not.  They’re just totally nuts.

BC drivers are oblivious to speed limits.  They may travel at 30 km/hr over the posted limit, but they’re equally likely to dip 30 km/hr under the limit for no apparent reason.  And they don’t choose a speed and drive it consistently.  Oh, hell no; that would be boring.  A vehicle pottering along at 80 km/hr in a 120 zone will probably whoosh past doing 140 only a few minutes later.

And passing is a competitive sport here – a slow-moving vehicle is only a fiendish ruse.  The driver toodles along until I signal a lane change and pull up alongside his vehicle, and then he accelerates to match my speed.  And accelerates.  And accelerates some more, until we’re hurtling along side by side much faster than I wanted to go.

When I capitulate and pull in behind him he immediately slows well below the posted limit, all ready to play again when I make another attempt to pass.

If somebody did that on the prairies, I’d know they were purposely messing with me.  But here, the driver just smiles vacantly through the windshield as though he doesn’t have a clue I’m even there.  Hell, he probably doesn’t.  He’s floating along in a happy cannabis-tinted world of his own making.

It’s a testament to the idiocy out here that I drove Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail this December with a sigh of relief.  The Deerfoot is a freeway that cuts through the middle of the city, varying from six to twelve lanes wide and featuring bumper-to-bumper traffic weaving in and out at 100 km/hr.  And I turned to Hubby and said, “Should I be concerned that I’m finding this a relaxing and pleasantly predictable drive?”

But that doesn’t mean I want to move back to Calgary.  Oh hell NO.  The 800+ bulbs I planted last fall are already poking their noses out of the ground, our heather is in bloom, and our baby rhododendrons have fat promising buds.  Spring is just around the corner here, and for that I’m willing to hone my defensive-driving skills.  Like the rest of the BC drivers, I’ll just consider it a sport.

As long as it doesn’t become a full-contact sport, everything will be fine…

P.S. I’m risking my life and sanity doing a road trip today, so I’ll check in this afternoon.  ‘Talk’ to you then!

33 thoughts on “It’s A Sport

  1. I thought drivers here in Cheshire were bad, Diane. Yes, I think clueless sums them up nicely… even thoughtless at times! I don’t mind being bumper to bumper in traffic jams – but not when moving. And not at speed!
    And here’s to Spring! Let it commence! 😀


  2. Wowza if the Deerfoot is looking good things are serious in B.C. It makes me wild when i try to pass people and they speed up like that. Or equally awful when someone flies by me to screech to a slow speed in front of me. Double face palm is all I can say. Breathe deeply and keep looking at those buds. None of that going on in Calgary I can assure you.


  3. It’s odd, isn’t it, that people from different areas seem to mostly drive a certain way. If we see speeders here, they are more likely to be New Brunswick or Quebec drivers!

    Personally, I would go nuts with the speed up/slow down thing. Aargh.


    • Yep, it’s certainly been an exercise in Zen meditation. I’m getting better at taking a deep breath and carrying on. 😉

      Maybe out-of-province drivers tend to speed more because they think they won’t have to pay the speeding tickets. Or maybe they’re just in a hurry to get home… or get away… 😉


      • I think you’re right. “Getting the hell outta Dodge” sounds exactly like “Sorry, officer, I just miss my family and am anxious to get home to them.” And they’re spelled the same. And they rhyme. Yep, I think you’re absolutely right. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I personally hate the interstates we have in North Carolina. The local speed limits on the one in our county has a 70 mph limit. If you go 70, you will get passed as though you are standing still. I refuse to drive on one if there is any other way of getting where I’m going. Have often wondered how the state troopers can get all those drug arrests on the interstate, yet you see very few speeders stopped.

    We’ve had a couple of days with more sun after several days of cold rain. Our flowers are a ways off yet. You make me envious.


    • I suspect most of my flowers are still about a month away – the daffodils and tulips are barely poking their noses above ground. But I’m hoping for crocuses in a week or two! Our rains are starting to get warmer, and we’ve actually glimpsed the sun a couple times in the last week.

      The only interstate I’ve driven in recent memory was the one between Phoenix and Tucson, and that was more than enough for me. I’m a back-roads kinda girl to start with, so an unfamiliar road choked with speeding traffic did nothing to improve my mood. I can totally relate to you avoiding the interstates!


  5. That passing thing drives me crazy. So frustrating when they speed up just as you’re about to pass them. I think, “Why are they doing that? Don’t they have cruise control?” Grr.

    Sounds like your gorgeous weather and surroundings more than make up for it though!


    • Oh, it’s definitely worth the hassle! And fortunately we live out in the middle of nowhere and don’t have to go to town very often.

      I always wonder why drivers here don’t use their cruise control, too; but maybe they aren’t in the habit of using it the way we do out on the prairies. It rains so much here that hydroplaning is a very real danger, and there are signs all along the highway reminding you not to use your cruise control when the road is wet. (That’s the most charitable explanation I can manage, anyway.)


        • I’ve never experienced it, other than a faintly uneasy floating sensation that only lasts a second or two, and I hope to never get the full meal deal. Anytime I see a car off in the weeds beside the highway around here, I can pretty well guess what happened.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The last hydroplaning event I experienced was in Thuh Missus’s car, an AWD Volvo. It was on the OEM tires which were big-name ‘performance’ tires, according to all the hooplah. Well, in that instance, ‘performance’ also means ‘summer only,’ and they had about half their original tread remaining. We’d only had the car a few months. ‘Summer’ tires wear quickly, it seems. And the soft, sticky, immensely grippy rubber compound becomes more akin to well-lubricated Teflon in the wet…

            Yep, rounded a gentle curve in the rain and gently ended up on the shoulder. No drama, no nothing. Just the sudden realization that for most of the day I’d been hanging onto the highway by probably two molecules of rubber. Total. When those wore away, traction went with them. One quickly finds out the meaning of ‘absolute zero’ in that sort of situation.

            Four new highly-rated long-mileage all-season tires were installed later that afternoon. So if you ever get the chance to get in some real hydroplaning, pass it up. You won’t dig it.


            • *shudders* Excellent advice. I shall comply. I prefer my 4-wheel drifts to take place in a vehicle with a roll cage and a six-point harness on a safe gravel track. Anytime that’s happening, sign me up – woohoo!

              The well-reviewed so-called “winter” tires I currently have on my new Escape are crap, too. I wish there was a quantifiable way to evaluate tires BEFORE they’re installed on my vehicle.

              Liked by 1 person

              • This might help, then. I’ve come to trust the reviews from the bunch. They actually test the tires they sell under conditions other than idling around a parking lot for a couple of minutes on warm, sunny afternoons. The ‘consumer ratings’ I usually ignore, mostly because I’ve never met more than, I think, four people (consumers, that is) who can factually evaluate what a set of tires is capable of under varying conditions. People who do that stuff for a living? Yeah, I’ll listen. Boy-racer wannabes and internet posturers? Nah, I’ll pass. Anyway, *some* useful info is better than none (which is what the opinion of some temp clerk in the auto section of Walmart is worth). Give ’em a look. Might help.


  6. When I cruise along our local two-lane highway at slightly above the speed limit and see headlights in the review mirror (with no sirens or flashing lights) gaining on me at a frightening speed, I know it will have Ontario plates. We don’t have much in the way of a population up here, but Ontarians add so much to our local coffers that we can nearly afford extravagant social programs such as free lunch for tourists or bidets at our wayside rest areas from the income. If we set up an automatic traffic camera we could all live like thousandaires! You call it sport, we call it luxury living. Be careful out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “…bidets at our wayside rest areas” – bahahaha!!! It doesn’t surprise me that your speeders are from Ontario. That whole Toronto-and-environs area gives me the heebie-jeebies – I suspect Ontario drivers are wack-jobs just from having to live there and drive the 401 and Gardner Expressway regularly.


  7. I thought we solved that problem already. Oh, wait. That was last year over in the Book Club section. But no problem Just pop over to the field office in Ladysmith and have one of Chow’s people install a heat ray at each corner of your vehicle. And insist on the HUD control, too. It may not end the nincompoopery on the highways, but the perps will have plenty of time to rethink their life choices whilst awaiting the arrival of AAA with another set of tires. And by the time they’re back on the road and in the way again, you’ll be long gone. See? Problem solved.

    Oh, some will indignantly insist that such ruthless, callous behavior is evil, and they’ll call it all sorts of ugly names, of course. Let them, I say.

    I’d call it a sport… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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