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Here’s what they should really teach in those insurance ads

Published August 29, 2012

Have you heard those radio ads for “Completely Biased Car Advice” from Subaru?

Kinda cute.

But have you heard those radio ads for “Completely Pointless Driving Advice” from Grey Power Insurance?

Scary.

OK, so I do qualify for Grey Power on the hair colour count.

And no, contrary to that scurrilous comment herein a few weeks ago, I don’t dawdle in the left lane with my turn signal (and a hat) on. After all, the Ontario government built the Jim-Only lane for me, and the police departments appear to enforce my exclusive use thereof, so why wouldn’t I use it?

And the only hat I wear in a car (other than in a convertible – gotta watch out for that sun) always has a Snell sticker in it.

(For those that don’t get that reference, that’s a racing helmet. Get your own and meet me at the track…).

But I digress.

These Grey Power ads purport to reward “good” drivers like “Stewie” – they even wrote a little ditty about him – who always comes to a full stop at every stop sign.

I guess Grey Power doesn’t insure the people who rear-end each other because Stewie – and Stewie alone – came to that complete stop.

The fact is, every stop sign is an admission of failure to design the intersection properly. Actually, the “stops” should all be roundabouts, again like most of the intersections in the U.K., but one step at a time…

At the very least, virtually every stop sign should be a yield sign which, in the absence of a roundabout, is what they typically use in the U.K. The vast majority of even our drivers treat stop signs as yield signs, anyway.

Hence, Stewie is probably gonna get rear-ended on a regular basis.

For safety, traffic flow management, reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions – never mind everyone getting home sooner – a yield is what we need.

Yeah yeah, I know what the law says. It’s not the only place where, in the words popularized but surely predating Charles Dickens, “The Law is an Ass”.

And it’s still down to the traffic planners who do have the option of installing yield signs instead of stop signs where they would be more appropriate,

Which is almost everywhere.

Then there’s the ad which extols “Bob” for always checking his blind spots before changing lanes.

Come on, Bob. Open your mind, open your eyes, get with the program.

Do you drive like the young woman I saw in an Acura EL on Bayview the other day who must have driven half the length of a football field looking over her left shoulder, presumably checking her “blind spot”?

Which, as regular readers know, simply does not exist: crank those side-view mirrors out farther, and presto – no more blind spots.

This young woman definitely would not qualify under the “over-50″ criterion for Grey Power Insurance; just as well, because you wouldn’t want her on your roster under any circumstances.

Good for you Grey Power to try and use your platform to communicate driving tips to the general public.

But you’ve got to make them accurate and useful, not dangerous.

As in:

- Stewie, always back into your parking space so it’s safer when you pull out again;

- Bob, learn how to adjust your mirrors correctly;

- everyone, turn on all your lights, all the time, because Daytime Running Lights typically don’t illuminate the taillights, and in most of our driving they’re more important than the fronts.

Have your copywriters give me a call. I’ve got enough driving tips for 10 years worth of ads.

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