IN MY VIEW: Driving privileges

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For those of us who were fortunate enough to receive a driver’s licence, we can now enjoy a drive out to the ocean when the roadways open, or we can join family and friends out at the picnic grounds and we can also drive to the store for groceries and other goods.

In My View with Harry Maksagak
In My View with Harry Maksagak

Once you’ve gained experience and obey the rules of the road, you can upgrade from a learner’s permit to a Class 4, 5 and maybe even a Class 1 or 3 for heavy equipment operation.

The local or municipal government has put out signage for the drivers to follow. At the corner, you may see a yellow triangular sign and the word ‘yield’ while major corners will have a red sign that says ‘stop’. In between these signs, there are numbers put up for maximum speed limits within the municipality. Then in designated areas, such as the school zone, more cautionary indicators instruct operators to exercise more awareness for the safety of the children going and coming from school.

The larger centres and cities have imposed a no distraction order punishable by fines and possible licence suspension on cell phone use while driving and this has been introduced in Nunavut as well.

The most courteous drivers on the road should be the heavy equipment operators, such as delivery trucks. I’ve witnessed many times our municipal trucks and a couple of taxis coming to a four-way corner and slowing down but not stopping properly and continuing on down the road while the other vehicles have to wait for them.

If this type of driving continues, someone will get hurt and damage will happen to the vehicles. We forget that driving is a privilege and not a right. The rules of the road apply to our ski-doos and quads as well.

During my training for a Class 3 licence, we were instructed and reminded that a fully-loaded truck needs to begin slowing down at least 100 feet from the corner. Although I had the assurance of applying air brakes, my confidence cannot be in this mechanical apparatus but in my ability to read the signs and see what’s ahead of me.

When we get behind the wheel our attitude should be ‘safety first’ and remember it is a privilege to drive and not a right.

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