Tips to Safely Practise Your Driving

While courses with an instructor are a great start, you should also make an effort to refine your driving skills on your own time. Here’s how to safely practise your driving.

Once you’ve obtained your learner’s licence, the next step to getting your full driver’s license is to pass the road test. The best way to maximize your chances of succeeding on the first try is to practise as often as possible.

Safe places to practise

Since you’re still getting used to being behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to practise in quiet areas. An empty parking lot gives you plenty of space to familiarize yourself with the basics. Plus, you don’t have to worry about traffic signs, pedestrians and other vehicles.

When you feel ready, you can start driving on roads with little to no traffic such as industrial streets after business hours. Familiarize yourself with the area beforehand or choose a route you already know. This will help you focus on driving rather than navigating.

As you get more comfortable behind the wheel, you can slowly progress to driving on residential streets, boulevards and highways.

How to prepare

Every time you get into a vehicle, there are a few things you need to do to ensure a safe and comfortable drive. Adjust the angle of your rearview and side mirrors so you have a clear view of your surroundings. You should also take the time to adjust the position of your seat, steering wheel and headrest. This will help keep you safe and prevent you from getting distracted by discomfort while you drive.

Who to practise with

If you plan to practise without a driving instructor, you need to have a responsible and experienced driver in the passenger’s seat. This person must be at least 25 years old and have their full driver’s license. In addition to offering tips to improve your driving, they can answer questions about the rules of the road and help you navigate tricky situations.

In addition, it’s best to have as few distractions as possible while you learn to drive. Your phone should be out of sight and put on silent. You should also avoid playing music or listening to the radio.

Your go-to driving school in North Vancouver

If you want to gain the skills to become a safe and confident driver, sign up for driving lessons at North Shore Driving School in North Vancouver. Our theory and in-car classes will help you prepare for your practical exam and the open road ahead. For more information about our courses or to schedule your first lesson, contact us today.0

How to Handle Stress for First Time Drivers

Getting behind the wheel for the first time often comes with a mix of emotions. It’s so exciting to have finally hit this major milestone, but it’s also incredibly nerve-wracking to be suddenly given such responsibility.

Extreme emotions, including elevated stress-levels, can impair your ability to drive, so it’s important to try to remain calm when you get behind the wheel. Naturally, this is easier said than done, so here’s some advice about how to manage your stress before you drive for the first time.

Get comfortable

Take your time adjusting your seat and mirrors into positions that are comfortable and allow you to see well. It can take some trial and error to find the settings that are right for you, so don’t rush yourself. Being in an uncomfortable position while driving can distract you, while being seated comfortably will help you relax and allow you to pay attention to more important things.

Take a familiar route

The need to navigate complex directions will only stress you out more. The first time you drive, stick to streets you know well. Take a familiar route through a quiet area where you can focus on getting a feel for the vehicle. Steer clear of any major streets or highways. There’s a time and a place to learn how to navigate those and your first time behind the wheel definitely isn’t it.

Have a trusted licensed ADULT with you

While you learn to drive, it’s required that you have a licensed adult with you at all times. Make sure that this person is someone with lots of driving experience. Furthermore, it’s important that you drive with someone who’s patient and doesn’t get nervous easily. If they’re stressed out, how can you be expected to remain calm? Their job is to support you while you drive and to give you advice that’ll help you learn the rules of the road.

Scheduling your driving lessons

Of course, the best way to reduce stress while driving is to get lots of practice. North Shore Driving School Ltd. will provide you with the experience you need to become a skilled and confident driver. We’re proud to offer courses not only in the car division, but in the truck division as well, which includes instruction such as Class 1 driver training. Contact our driving school in B.C. today to schedule your lessons.

What New Drivers Should Know About Child Car Seats

Properly used, seat belts significantly decrease your risk for serious injury or death in the event of a collision. This is because they hold your body in place during impact. But to work as intended, seat belts require the passenger to be a certain size. This why car seats are essential and non-negotiable for children and infants.

Child Seat Requirements By Age Group

In British Columbia, provincial law specifies four age groups, each with their own indicated category of child seating and restraint systems. They’re as follows:

  • Infants. Until they reach 12 months of age or exceed a weight of 9 kilograms (20 pounds), children should be seated in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Toddlers. Children over a year old or heavier than 9 kilograms (20 pounds), should be strapped in a forward-facing car seat until they reach a weight of 18 kilograms (40 pounds).
  • Under nine years old. From the time they’re too big for their car seats, children should be switched to a booster seat until they reach a height of 145 centimetres (4 feet, 9 inches).
  • Youth over nine years old. If they meet the necessary height requirement, children can sit without a booster seat and will be well-protected so long as their seat belt is properly adjusted.

These rules are meant to keep children safe. Every year in British Columbia, 1,300 children are injured in motor vehicle accidents and five die. Properly used, child seats reduce the risk of fatality by 71 per cent.

Important Tips for Parents

It’s important to not switch your child to a new type of seat too early. In particular, infants should use rear-facing seats for as long as possible as they offer the best protection. They provide much better head and neck support and reduce the risk of injuries to these sensitive areas.

Also remember that avoiding collisions and driving defensively should be your priority.

Why Child Seats Are Important

Always remember that no matter how secure a regular seat belt may look, it’s not designed to protect people under a certain height. When used improperly, seat belts can make it more likely that a child will be injured, even in a minor collision.

A Driving School with Safety Always Top of Mind

North Shore Driving School is proud to offer comprehensive driving courses. From North and West Vancouver to Burnaby, we’re here to help. We also provide a range of courses designed for beginners and experienced drivers alike, so contact us to learn more about our driving courses.

Immigrating to BC? How to Get Your Driver’s Licence

Have you recently arrived in British Columbia? As a new resident of Canada, you’re able to exchange your international driver’s licence for a B.C. licence within 90 days of your arrival.

Orchestrated by ICBC, our province’s licensing body, the process of exchanging your driver’s licence is typically straightforward. However, there are several steps to follow before you can drive.

To learn how to apply for your new B.C. licence, read this helpful guide prepared by our local driving experts at North Shore Driving School.

Requirements for New Residents

As of September 1, 2019, new B.C. residents only need to hold a valid driver’s licence from their previous country of residence.

Certain groups can continue utilizing their current valid driver’s licence, including:

  • Tourists visiting for less than 6 months
  • Full-time students at designated educational institutions in B.C. that hold valid student exemptions
  • Temporary foreign workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) that hold valid federal work permits. If you’re staying for longer than 12 months, you must apply for a B.C. driver’s licence.

Feeling out of practise? Want to get used to the roads in Canada? Check out our refresher courses!

How to apply

This has to be done in-person at one of the province’s licensing offices. ICBC requires that you bring with you:

  • Valid photo ID
  • Your current driver’s licence
  • The fee for your B.C. licence
  • Proof of previous driving experience

When applying, you must surrender your current license to the ICBC. In B.C., residents are only permitted to have one driver’s licence. If you are required to take a road test and fail, your current license will not be returned to you.

Reciprocal and non-reciprocal licence exchanges

Under B.C. law, there are two types of international driver’s license exchanges, reciprocal and non-reciprocal.

If your current driver’s license is from a country with which B.C. has a reciprocity agreement, you won’t have to take a knowledge or road test, provided you apply for the licence within 90 days of arrival in Canada. Eligible countries include:

  • Austria
  • Australia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea (not motorcycles)
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (not motorcycles)
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

However, if your country is not on ICBC’s reciprocal exchange list, you will need to successfully pass both a knowledge test and a road test within 90 days of arriving in Canada. If you want to brush up on your road knowledge and Canadian driving laws, we encourage you to browse our driving school courses or sign up for an in-vehicle lesson to assess your abilities.

Need a driving school in North or West Vancouver?

To familiarize yourself with the rules of B.C.’s roads, sign up for a course at North Shore Driving School, based in North Vancouver. Our driving school’s expert instructors offer one-on-one lessons throughout the Greater Vancouver Area, including West Vancouver, Lions Bay, Deep Cove and Bowen Island. Contact us today to learn moreabout the comprehensive courses we offer to new residents.

5 Tips for Rookie Truck Drivers in BC

Becoming a proficient truck driver requires training and practice.

However, you can get a head start by adhering to these helpful tips.

  1. Stay on track
    A good GPS designed especially for commercial trucks is a must-have. Just don’t make the mistake of buying one designed for cars, which may lead you down roads that are problematic or prohibited to trucks. Make sure you always have a paper map as a back-up and that you know how to read it.
  2. Be careful backing up
    Backing up is one of the biggest challenges for truck drivers, especially rookies. The difficulty is in properly lining up to the loading dock or parking space and staying straight as you back up. When you’re starting out, you’ll want to back up in stages: every 5 feet or so get out of the truck and check that you’re well-aligned.
  3. Don’t rush
    Even if you’re behind schedule, don’t hit the road until you’ve double-checked that all the necessary prep tasks were completed. This includes unhooking air lines and raising or lowering landing gear. Working too fast can lead to costly mistakes.
  4. Look after yourself
    Staying alert at the wheel depends a great deal on factors like sleep and nutrition. Getting seven to eight hours of rest every night is crucial to ensuring peak alertness on the road. Staying well-hydrated is also important. Studies show that it improves one’s focus and reaction times. In addition, it’s important to eat well. Healthy meals and snacks will give you an energy boost, whereas fast food will leave you feeling tired and sluggish.

    Finally, having a regular exercise routine is also key. When not balanced by physical activity, sitting for hours on end can negatively impact your health, detracting not only from your ability to stay alert when driving but also from your overall quality of life.
  5. Get properly trained
    Only get behind the wheel once you feel ready and confident. The best way to prepare yourself for a trucking career is with hands-on training at a reputable truck driving school. In addition to giving you the credentials you need to land a great job, a comprehensive training program will provide you with the skills you need to be a safe and effective driver.

Commercial truck driving school serving Burnaby and Coquitlam

Since 1961,North Shore Driving School has been the premier professional truck driving school in Burnaby. For more information about our courses, contact us today.

What new drivers need to know about car insurance

Owning and operating a car responsibly starts with attending an excellent driving school to acquire all the essential knowledge about driving a car. But your responsibilities don’t end with simply learning how to safely operate your vehicle. You also need the best car insurance you can get. Whether you’ve just learned how to drive and are thinking of purchasing a car, or you’ve been driving for a while and would like to know a bit more about how car insurance works, here are the basics that every driver should know.

What is car insurance?

Car insurance ensures that you can cover large expenses in the case of an accident or other type of incident. The idea is fairly simple: you pay a small regular fee into a larger fund and if your car gets damaged or stolen, or someone gets hurt while operating the car, the insurance company will cover the involved costs. There are a lot of different kinds of car insurance and varying types of contracts or “policies” that will cover you in distinct situations.

Why is it important?

First and foremost, car insurance is mandated by the government for every car owner in Canada who wants to drive on public roads and highways. Furthermore, owning and maintaining a car is expensive. If an accident occurs or if your car is broken into, most people don’t have the kind of cash it takes to repair the damage. Insurance is important not only to follow the law, but also to protect you from having to pay huge expenses out of your own pocket.

How can I get car insurance?

There are many different kinds of insurance companies who offer car insurance. However, it can be advantageous to work with an insurance broker, as they’re typically able to find the best combination of insurance policies available from differing companies. If you already have life or home insurance, for example, chances are that your broker will be able to add car insurance to your existing arrangement.

At North Shore Driving School, we want all our customers to learn the skills required to drive on Canada’s roads safely. If you live in the greater Vancouver area and are interested in learning how to drive a car or truck, contact us today to find out how easy it is to become a great driver.

Should You Learn to Drive with a Manual or Automatic Transmission?

The time has come for you to learn how to drive. You feel excited. You imagine gripping the wheel and revving the engine like the hero in your favourite action movie, and you can’t wait to have this experience for real. However, at the same time, you feel nervous. You hear about car accidents all the time, and you don’t want a silly mistake to ruin this exciting opportunity.

Since you feel so nervous, you’ve determined to analyze every aspect of the driving experience before you start. You’ve studied everything from traffic laws to focusing strategies. You’ve also deliberated whether your car (or your parents’ car) will give you the best driving experience.

No matter which kind of car you have access to, you can learn to drive successfully with the help of a driving school in Vancouver. However, you may have a different experience depending on whether you learn to drive manual or automatic.

Why Does the Transmission Type Matter?

Manual and automatic transmissions force their users to develop different skills. They require different attention spans and levels of coordination. They may also affect your fuel economy and driving enjoyment. One may prove more difficult for you than the other. Consider each type’s pros and cons carefully before making your decision.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Automatic Transmissions?

In North America, the standard car comes with an automatic transmission. This means that the car shifts gears (which it has to do to keep the transmission from breaking or overheating) on its own via an onboard computer. You don’t have to do any work. You simply push on the gas pedal and steer where you want to go.


  • Many drivers find automatics less distracting because they only have to focus on steering, braking, and accelerating. They can keep their focus on the road.
  • Automatics usually prove easier to learn how to drive, probably because of their simplicity.
  • Automatics shift gears faster than manuals, allowing for more uniform acceleration.
  • These cars often prove easier to drive in stop-and-go traffic.
  • These cars often prove easier to drive in hilly areas as well.
  • If you multitask while driving, such as eating with one hand and steering with the other, you’ll do better in an automatic.
  • Automatic transmissions give you more car model options. Again, standard North American cars come with an automatic, so you’ll have more makes and models to choose from.


  • If you learn to drive an automatic, you’ll have difficulty transferring to a manual in an emergency. You might not have the ability to transfer at all.
  • Automatics almost always have worse fuel economy.
  • Automatics almost always cost more than manuals.
  • Automatics almost always cost more to repair than manuals.
  • You have less control over the gear your car chooses, which can prove tricky in adverse weather conditions.
  • Driving an automatic may bore you because you need more power, speed, control, etc.
  • If you don’t want to deal with any of these cons, consider driving a car with a manual transmission instead.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Manual Transmissions?

Manual transmissions require the driver to switch gears instead of an onboard computer. This means the driver has to push down a clutch pedal (which sits next to the gas and brake pedals) and use his or her left hand to move the gear shifter (also called the stick) while steering with the right hand. To shift smoothly, the driver has to maintain a balance between the clutch and the stick—otherwise the car could stall.

Sound complicated? Manuals require more work than automatics, but that doesn’t make them worse to drive. In fact, they have many advantages over automatics.


  • If you learn to drive using a manual, you’ll have the skills to drive any kind of car, whether manual or automatic.
  • You have more control and power, and you can often accelerate faster than you would in an automatic car (at least in lower gears).
  • You have more control in adverse weather conditions, which makes driving safer.
  • Manuals almost always have better fuel economy.
  • Manuals almost always cost less than automatics.
  • Manuals almost always cost less to repair. You don’t have to maintain them as often either.
  • People who drive manuals often have more fun driving than those who drive automatics.


  • Many people have difficulty learning to drive a manual. It often proves too complicated or distracting.
  • If you start on a hill, you risk rolling backward into the traffic behind you depending on your experience.
  • Manuals can prove hard on your joints if you frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic.
  • You can’t eat or otherwise multitask while driving—you already multitask by using all four limbs at once.
  • Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons associated with each type, you can decide which transmission type works best for you.

Which Transmission Type Should You Choose?

Your choice depends entirely on your personal preferences. Do you want something simple that gets you from point A to point B, or do you want something slightly more complicated that’ll feel epic to drive? Consider carefully before choosing.

However, if you have to rent a vehicle or borrow your parents’ car, you should just accept what you have access to. Just keep the information above in mind when you buy your own car. North Shore Driving School offers GLP driving courses in Vancouver, where you can learn to drive on either an automatic or manual car.

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