Safe drivers?

When we came to Halifax on vacation last summer I was practically struck silly by what seems to me to be the most mindful driving culture I’ve ever witnessed. Now, granted, I am observing only as a pedestrian and infrequent auto passenger. But my realm of comparison is huge and varied.

In Boston, anything moving–man, beast, bus, bike, or Beamer–is fair game for any other object in transit. In San Francisco, pedestrians wear targets on their fronts and backs. In Gainesville, FL, traffic seems to amble with magnets pulling them toward oncoming traffic. Glasgow drivers are out for blood. The star in my driving universe heretofore was Idaho, and I found nothing else compelling enough to entice me to throw over my life for its comparatively polite drivers.

In fact, Bob and I were forced across several streets last summer that we were merely contemplating crossing–as in, “Shall we go this way or that?”–because drivers in all directions had come to a halt for our pedestrian benefit. It was on one of these occasions that I blithely announced that, were I to live here, I could imagine driving.

Well, eat those words….

We are now in December and apparently this is when Halifax police–Nova Scotia police in general?–put up lots and lots of drunk-driving prevention barricades. I do know there are bad drivers out there. I know there are folks drinking and driving. But the prevailing theory seems to be that you don’t drink and drive here.

My apartment is on a relatively busy corner and the last couple of nights the street has been icy. I keep hearing cars pass in the night and keep expecting to hear crashes that never come….It all seems so impossible: a land where driving could be sane?

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