The Benefits of Learning Defensive Driving Techniques

Law-abiding, focused and alert, defensive drivers are safer drivers. That’s why North Shore Driving School offers a defensive driving course for motorists in and around Vancouver.

Reactive vs Defensive Drivers

Most people are reactionary drivers. This means that they tend to react to what happens around them without really planning ahead or anticipating potentially dangerous situations. This is normal, especially in less experienced drivers. However, a defensive driving course teaches them to be more proactive and take steps to reduce the risk of an incident.

Being able to prioritize road safety has far-reaching consequences. For instance, fewer accidents means fewer insurance claims, which over time can build up to considerable savings on your car insurance. In addition, defensive drivers are far less likely to be at fault when an incident occurs.

Who should take a defensive driving course?

Simply put, anyone with a driver’s license will benefit from a defensive driving course. This being said, learning defensive driving techniques may be particularly beneficial in the following cases:

  • Young or beginner drivers. While basic driver training covers safety, it also requires students to learn traffic law and get used to controlling their vehicle. A dedicated safety course can help reduce injury rates, which are very high in this age group.
  • Commercial drivers. If you manage a fleet of vehicles or drive as part of your job, defensive driving courses are an effective way to reduce liability risks and injuries.

In addition, people who receive a ticket for a driving infraction are sometimes required to complete a defensive driving course.

How defensive driving courses help you save a life

A third of all traffic accidents are caused by aggressive driving such as tailgating and speeding. As a defensive driver, you’re taught to avoid these risks, for instance by a leaving 3-second gap between yourself and the vehicle in front. You’ll also learn to stay alert by looking 15 seconds ahead rather than following the cues of other drivers. This way, you spot any incoming hazards in time to react appropriately.

Defensive driving courses also train you to maintain your focus on the road, meaning you never eat, drink, scroll through your phone or play excessively loud music while driving. These activities count as distractions and reduce your ability to drive safely.

Sign up for defensive driving courses in Vancouver

Whether you’re a brand-new driver or an experienced driver looking to sharpen your skills, North Shore Driving School’s defensive driving course has a lot to offer. Contact us today to enroll in our program and learn how to stay safe on Vancouver’s roads all year round.

How to Overcome Your Anxiety About Driving

There are many benefits to getting your driver’s license including a newfound freedom and independence. However, for many people, learning how to drive can be a considerable source of anxiety. If you’re nervous about getting behind the wheel, here’s what you should know.

Is driving anxiety normal?

While getting your driver’s license is an exciting milestone, it’s very common for that excitement to be mixed with a degree of hesitation or fear. As a new driver, you need to learn a lot of new skills and take on some significant responsibilities. This can be quite nerve-wracking. What’s important to remember is that with the right knowledge and plenty of practise, you can learn to be a safe and confident driver.

Practice makes perfect

The best way to improve your confidence in your driving skills is to practise as often as possible. Your first few times behind the wheel might be scary, so start by driving in an empty parking lot or on quiet industrial streets after business hours. This will help you focus on the basics and gain experience that will ease your fear. Finally, stick to familiar areas and slowly progress to busier streets and more challenging driving conditions when you feel ready.

Keep in mind that until you pass your road exam, you need to have a fully-licensed driver who’s at least 25 years old in the passenger’s seat. Their presence and experience can help keep you calm. They can also offer you advice and guidance if you’re ever unsure about what to do.

Can driving school help?

Taking driving lessons is a great way to alleviate your anxiety about driving. Theory classes allow you to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road so you feel prepared when you get behind the wheel. In your practical courses, you’ll be accompanied by a trained instructor who will help you navigate the various situations you may encounter on the road. They can also offer advice and support as you build up your confidence to drive alone.

Remember, it’s normal to feel nervous or scared about learning to drive. However, if your anxiety is severe enough to interfere with your driving or prevent you from getting behind the wheel at all, consider speaking with a mental health professional to help you manage your driving anxiety.

Sign up for lessons today

If you want to cultivate the skills needed to become a safe and confident driver, the professional driving instructors at North Shore Driving School in North Vancouver can help. For more information about our courses, contact us today.

How To Avoid Aggressive Drivers

Aggressive drivers are intimidating and a source of danger on the road, especially if you’re a new driver. Here are a few tips to help you respond to an encounter with an aggressive driver so you can safely reach your destination.

Don’t engage

From tailgating to speeding through yellow lights, the behaviours exhibited by aggressive drivers can be frustrating to say the least. You may be tempted to respond with similar manoeuvres or a rude hand gesture. However, it’s best to avoid escalating the situation as much as possible. Try to contain your annoyance, avoid eye contact and don’t attempt to teach the aggressive driver a lesson. Focus on driving safely and staying out of their way.

Keep calm

In any circumstances, it’s important to keep your cool while driving. Getting angry or emotional behind the wheel can distract you from the task at hand. While an aggressive driver’s behaviour might make you irritated or nervous, do your best to stay relaxed and concentrate on reaching your destination. Remember, there are many reasons why someone might choose to drive aggressively, so don’t take it personally.

Get out of their way

As much as possible, steer clear of aggressive drivers. If you see someone speeding in the left lane, for example, safely move into the right lane. Be sure to leave plenty of space between your car and other vehicles so you can easily move out of the way if necessary.

Give up the parking spot

In addition to encountering aggressive drivers on the road, you might also have to deal with them while you look for parking. It’s common for aggressive drivers to cut off other motorists to claim an available parking spot. While this can be extremely frustrating, it’s best to just let it go. Whether the other driver intentionally stole your space or simply didn’t notice you, the conflict isn’t worth it. Another spot will open up.

Driving lessons in North Vancouver

Whether you want to be prepared for an encounter with an aggressive driver or ensure you don’t develop aggressive driving habits yourself, the professional instructors at North Shore Driving School can help. We offer theory and practical courses to teach you the rules of the road and the best safe driving practices. To schedule a class in North Vancouver or learn about our truck driving school in Burnaby, contact us today.

3 Tips For Safe Driving in a Severe Rainstorm

As a new driver, you need to learn how to adapt your driving to a wide range of road and weather conditions.

In a rainstorm, for example, wet roads can be slippery and a downpour can impair your visibility. While experience will greatly improve your ability to navigate tricky driving conditions, here are a few basic tips to help you stay safe if you’re just starting out.

  1. Keep your car in good condition
    Make sure the car you drive is regularly serviced and properly maintained. Get the brakes checked on a regular basis, replace the tires before they wear out and make sure the windshield wipers work properly. These upkeep tasks and more will ensure your car is best equipped to handle whatever weather and road conditions you encounter.
  2.  Turn on your headlights
    Whether it’s day or night, turn on your headlights if you’re driving in a rainstorm. This will help you see the road ahead and ensure other drivers can see you. Impaired visibility can easily cause a road accident, so it’s best to shine some extra light on the situation.
  3.  Proceed with caution
    While you should always make sure to drive safely, it’s important to be extra cautious if you’re driving in a rainstorm or other severe weather. Leave more space between you and the car ahead and reduce your speed, especially when going around corners. It might take you a little longer to reach your destination, but be patient. Safety should always be your first priority on the road.

When (and how) to safely pull over

If your visibility is severely impaired or you feel unsafe driving, it’s time to get off the road. If possible, safely exit the road and find a parking lot where you can wait out the storm. Slow down carefully as drivers behind you might not be able to clearly see you.

If there’s nowhere to exit nearby, pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Make sure you’re pulled over enough so that no part of the vehicle is sticking out into the lane.

Take driving lessons in North Vancouver

If you want to make sure you have the right knowledge and skills to drive in almost any weather or road conditions, the instructors at North Shore Driving School can help. We offer theory and in-car driving lessons to help you become a safe, confident driver. We also have a top-quality truck driving school in Burnaby. For more information or to register for a course, contact us today.


When you’re driving, you have to complete numerous complicated manoeuvres, and successfully doing that requires being aware of your blind spot. Here’s a basic guide to one of many fundamental driving concepts you will learn about during one of our driving theory courses or Graduated Licensing (GLP) courses.

What is a blind spot?

Let’s start with the basics. When you’re driving, your blind spots are essentially the areas around your vehicle that you cannot see, even while using your mirrors.

Each vehicle has a slightly different blind spot on each side. Your car’s construction determines the exact location and size of your blind spots, along with the positioning of the mirrors and the driver’s seat. The latter two can be manipulated to decrease blind spot size. However, you can’t eliminate them, so you need to learn how to check them properly in order to maintain your own safety and the safety of others on the road, while operating your vehicle.

How do I safely check my blind spot?

Blind spots are large enough to hold an entire car, motorcycle or bicycle. Hence, it’s important to know how to check your blind spots efficiently and safely, particularly before switching lanes, for instance.

To see their blind spots while driving, drivers perform what’s called a shoulder check. If they’re moving to the left lane, they quickly look over their left shoulder to see if any vehicles are driving in their blind spot. To check the right lane, the driver simply looks over their right shoulder.

For enhanced safety, many drivers also opt to attach blind spot mirrors to their side-view mirrors. These convex mirrors offer greater visibility around your vehicle. However, they shouldn’t be your only method for checking your blind spots and we recommend still utilizing the traditional shoulder check while driving.

If you’re feeling a little out of practice, check out our driving refresher courses for BC drivers!

These Typical Mistakes are Avoidable

Failing to check your blind spot is the most common and basic mistake. It places everyone on the road in danger and causes a significant number of accidents every year. It’ll also get you a failing grade from your evaluator should it happen during a test.

Another mistake is incorrect placement of side-view mirrors. This leads to decreased visibility into the blind spots. To ensure your side-view mirrors are offering maximum visibility, adjust them so you can’t see your car’s side in your own mirror.


Looking to refresh your driving safety skills and knowledge? North Shore Driving School recommends signing up for one of our refresher courses. Designed with the experienced driver in mind, these courses ensure you’re fully prepared to be a safe, informed driver on B.C.’s roads.

While our driving school is located in North Vancouver, we also serve a considerable area of Greater Vancouver, including West Vancouver, Lions Bay, Deep Cove and Bowen Island. To learn more about our refresher courses, contact us today to get started and register online for our car division!0

How to stay focused and avoid distracted driving

Transport Canada reports that distracted driving now causes more collisions than impaired driving. Most of these types of incidents can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken. Here’s how to make sure you stay focused when you’re behind the wheel.

Only use your cellphone for emergencies

When you’re driving, your cellphone should only be used in the case of an emergency, never for a social call. Even using a hands-free device can distract you enough to miss a crucial visual or audio cue that would allow you to avoid a collision. Always safely pull over before using your phone.

Don’t try to power through fatigue
Fatigue, considered a type of cognitive distraction, can be lethal if you’re driving. If you start feeling drowsy, pull over to a safe location and allow yourself to doze off for a few minutes. It’s also a good idea to take regular breaks to stretch your legs, which can diminish feelings of fatigue. Nodding off or falling asleep at the wheel could have disastrous consequences.

Limit the level of activity in your car
While it’s understandable that you and your friends will want to have conversations while you’re cruising in your car, try to keep them short. Make sure your attention is on the road and not on your passengers, especially when you’re driving in difficult weather conditions.

Don’t eat and drive
Anything that pulls your attention away from what’s happening on the road increases the risk of crashing, and that includes eating while driving. You might think finishing your meal on the go will save you time, but food spills are a major source of distractions. The potential time save isn’t worth the risk to you and others.

Don’t multi-task
Never forget that when you’re driving, you’re in control of multiple tons of metal propelled by a powerful engine. It may be tempting to catch up on small tasks while driving, but don’t do it. No matter how comfortable you are behind the wheel, you can’t account for what other drivers do, and you can’t control what happens on the road. The best way to stay safe is to remain focused.

Develop good driving habits early

Good habits start in driving school. If you live in Surrey, Burnaby or elsewhere in the Greater Vancouver area, you can trust the instructors at North Shore Driving School to provide quality courses. Our truck driving schools are accessible to residents throughout the Lower Mainland (including Langley, Abbotsford and beyond). Contact us today to find out more about our programs or simply register for more info using our easy and quick registration form.0

5 tips for staying safe when driving in the rain

According to Transport Canada, over 25,000 people were injured in traffic collisions due to wet pavement in 2016, and difficult weather is becoming increasingly common every year. Follow these five tips to ensure you and your passengers stay safe when driving in wet conditions.

1. Focus 

Rainy weather alters most aspects of driving. Visibility is reduced, your vehicle reacts more slowly and other drivers are more unpredictable. Avoid distractions and stay focused on what’s going on around you.

2. Turn on your headlights
Headlights allow you to see the road better and make you more visible to other drivers. Moreover, it’s illegal to drive without headlights on in low visibility conditions anywhere in Canada.

3. Beware of aquaplaning
Aquaplaning, also known as hydroplaning, happens when a layer of water builds up between the road and your tires, causing them to lose traction. This can lead you to lose control of your vehicle. All it takes for aquaplaning to occur is one-fifth of a centimetre of water on the road and a speed of about 55 km/h.

If you start to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas pedal and maintain a straight course until you regain control. Avoid hitting the brakes as this can cause your car to spin. If your car does start spinning, turn in the direction you’re spinning. Fight the instinct to jerk the steering wheel in the opposite direction, as it could cause your car to flip over.

4. Turn off your cruise control
Using cruise control to maintain a steady speed may seem like a good idea when driving on slick roads, but it’s actually dangerous. First, the system’s sensors could be affected by the dampness. Second, cruise control could, ironically, make it more difficult to control your car

5. Slow down
The speed limits posted along the road assume optimal driving conditions, meaning low traffic, good visibility and favourable weather. Rain reduces visibility and slows down your car’s reaction time, so make sure to ease up on the gas when driving in the rain. You should also maintain a greater following distance from other cars.

Pick the right driving school

Whether you’re learning how to drive or upgrading your skills, picking the right truck driving school is important. With a service area that includes Surrey and Coquitlam, North Shore Driving School is a great choice for people residing on the Lower Mainland. Contact us today to find out more about our programs.

How to stay healthy when you’re on the road

For many truckers, life on the road is synonymous with limited exercise, a poor diet, long hours and mental health struggles due to isolation and lack of routine. As a result, truckers are more likely to develop health problems and on average have a lower life expectancy than the general population. Here’s what you can do to stay healthy while you’re on the road.

Modify your diet

Poor eating habits have been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and digestive cancers. Ideally, you should aim to replace fast food, fatty snacks and sugary drinks with healthy alternatives. However, you don’t need to do it all at once. Start by snacking on fruits and vegetables, then progressively integrate healthier proteins such as fish and poultry to your diet. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Stay active
Spending all of your time sitting increases your risk of developing cardiovascular issues. Try to take regular breaks to stretch and walk around and maybe do simple exercises like push-ups. You should also aim to get at least 150 minutes of cardio a week, but even 10 to 15 minutes a day is beneficial. Again, start small and work your way up. Some companies even offer wellness programs that provide support and keep you motivated.

Ease up on the stimulants
While one or two cups of coffee a day aren’t dangerous for otherwise healthy people, excessive caffeine consumption should be avoided, especially in the form of energy drinks. These contain very high concentrations of both sugar and caffeine and are likely to disrupt your sleep schedule. They may also cause you to become jittery, which can be dangerous when you’re behind the wheel.

Sleep well
A regular sleep schedule will ensure you stay sharp, help your body recuperate and let you retain a sense of routine and stability while on the road. This is key to maintaining your mental health.

Mind your mental health
Isolation, long hours and lack of routine have all been linked to various mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Many drivers deal with these feelings by adopting unhealthy habits such as smoking or excessive eating. Instead of adopting such behaviours, set aside some time every day to make phone calls to your spouse, family and friends. This will help you feel more grounded and connected.

Build good habits early

Attending the right truck driving school is the first step towards developing good habits that’ll stick with you over the long haul. Serving residents in Surrey, Abbotsford and other parts of the Lower Mainland, North Shore Driving School is a great choice for aspiring truckers. Contact us today to learn more about our driver training programs.

Truck crashes: a step-by-step guide

Traffic collisions can unsettle any trucker, no matter how experienced. Having a solid accident response plan is the best way to prevent further damage and injuries and ensure everyone’s safety until emergency responders arrive. Here’s a step-by-step guide for what do to in case of a crash.

1. Stop. Even if the accident seems minor, there’s no way to know for sure unless you stop and exit your truck. This is the only way to assess the damage to your rig and to the other vehicles involved. If you’re transporting hazardous materials, driving on could be extremely dangerous. 

2. Turn on your hazard lights. Before stepping out of the truck, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers that there’s been an incident. This way, they’ll steer clear and give you enough room to inspect the damage and check on the other drivers.

3. Move out of the way, if possible. Move out of the way of oncoming traffic, provided you’re able to do so safely. If such a manoeuvre seems dangerous, don’t. Your priority is to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

4. Check on other drivers and passengers. Once you’ve stopped and turned on your hazard lights or moved to a safe spot, exit the cab and check on the other people involved in the accident. Make sure nobody is seriously injured.

5. Call 911. Even if there aren’t any serious injuries, your next step should be to call the police. Traffic collisions sometimes cause injuries that aren’t immediately apparent. In addition, everyone should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

6. Set up emergency signals. Once emergency responders are on the way, set up things like warning triangles if you have them. This further ensures that everyone is safe until help arrives.

7. Inspect your rig. While you wait for help, make sure your truck and its cargo are in good shape. This is especially important if you’re transporting hazardous materials.

8. Report the incident. Contact your insurance company or, if applicable, your employer to report the incident.

9. Don’t assign blame. Don’t try to determine who was at fault. There are more important things for everyone to worry about.

Truck driving school in British Columbia
To ensure you receive a solid education, trust the instructors at North Shore Driving School. We offer programs to people living on the Lower Mainland, including Coquitlam, Richmond and Vancouver. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get your Class 1 licence or polish off your truck driving skills.

Tips for Better Winter Driving Awareness from Your Trusted BC Driving School

Navigate Safely in Vancouver, Surrey, Coquitlam and more this Winter

Winter driving is unique, and for some motorists it can be quite stressful. Not only are you dealing with winter road conditions like snow, slush, and ice, but now you are dealing with drivers that might be unaware of how to handle such situations.

While you cannot control other drivers, you can do your part of staying safe by being more aware of your actions during winter driving.

Steps for Safer Driving this Winter

Whether the first snow has already struck, or you are readying your vehicle for the cold and ice ahead, follow these tips to stay safe and accident-free this winter:

1. Have a Winter-Ready Vehicle: Make sure your car is ready to tackle the wintry road conditions. That means having winter tires installed, keeping snow and ice brush/scrapers in your car, and taking it in for pre-winter maintenance. Fill up washer fluid, ensure
defrosters work, and pack a safety kit for your trunk that has winter necessities.

2. Never Tailgate: No matter how much of a hurry you are in or how slow the lead vehicle is, there is no excuse to tailgate. In the winter, this rule is more critical, because you have ice and snow hindering your ability to stop quickly. Give yourself extra room in the winter so that you can stop safely despite ice or snow.

3. Drive Smooth: Erratic movements on snowy roads almost always lead to loss of control. Do not take turns sharply, do not stop abruptly, and drive slowly so that your tires have a proper grip on the surface.

4. Do Not Pump the Brakes: Remember the age-old advice of pumping the brakes applied to vehicles without anti-lock braking systems. Today, most cars come with ABS as s standard feature; therefore, you can use the brakes, and the system helps to do the work for you.

5. Know What to Do if You Skid: You most likely learned this in our Vancouver driving school when first getting your license, but do you remember what to do if your vehicle skids or starts to lose control? Turn into the direction of the skid, but do not brake. By doing this, you will transfer weight and help your vehicle regain control.

6. Keep Lights on Always: To increase visibility, especially during snow, keep your headlights on.  

7. Never Use Cruise Control: Cruise control should never be on in the winter. It is not designed for wet, icy, snowy, or poor road conditions. If you have cruise control engaged, you could lose control quickly and face a collision or a skid.

Prepare Yourself for Winter by Attending Our Local Vancouver Driving School

When was the last time you took a driving class? If you are like most adults, it was when you first got your driver’s license, and you have not looked back since.

Our driving school can help prepare you for winter. Even if you are a newer driver, taking professional courses ensure you are ready for all the weather conditions British Columbia brings.

Refine your skills or learn something new by attending driving school at North Shore Driving School, Ltd. We serve Surrey, Coquitlam, and surrounding areas.

We offer courses for all ages and driving levels, including experienced drivers.

Call our Truck Division in Burnaby for your commercial driving courses at 604-299-9292, or connect with our Car Division in North Vancouver by calling 604-988-1138. You can also contact a representative online with your questions about our driving school.