Technology and Changes in the Driving World: Traffic Circles & Roundabouts

BC defines a roundabout with having a median divider on approach to the circle. A traffic circle does not have a median and was the predecessor to the modern roundabout. The rules state that a signal is not required to enter the traffic circle or the roundabout. The roundabout does however require a signal right when exiting the circle; the traffic circle does not. It is advisable to use the left signal when going more than one exit in the traffic circle/roundabout, as most North Americans do not use these types of intersections well for clear communication and the benefit of other motorists.

Examples of traffic circles:

  • Single lane roundabout (21st and Fulton, West Vancouver, BC)
  • Multi-lane (UBC Campus, Vancouver, BC).

Freeways & Signs

Merging onto the freeway has been addressed in the B.C. GLP road test since August 1998. What is required is that the driver coming onto the freeway needs to speed up to match the traffic on the freeway and fit into the flow of traffic. Then when the posted speed limit sign is seen, comply with that speed in reasonable time.

But where does the entrance ramp start speeding up?

Seeing the white line on the left, when it has changed from yellow to white, is not a good indicator. You will not be fast enough to match the speed of the traffic by the time you are forced to merge. There is a sign in most cases that can tell you.

This is a minimum speed limit sign for highways/freeways in BC. At this time you should ramp up and match traffic speed.

What is the speed limit of the freeway?

Assumed speed is 80, but speed can be anywhere from 60 to 100 km/h The Inland Island highway and the Coquihalla highway are 120 km/h

Near the end of the ramp or further on will be the posted speed limit. You can know the speed limit of the road by passing an entry ramp or intersection on a highway or freeway. This is a common pattern throughout North America.

As you travel along the freeway and deal with those that still enter the freeway at 60 km/h, a warning sign at least 50 meters ahead of the merging traffic will let you know that there is merging traffic and you should move over if you can. If you can notice the warning sign 150 M beforehand, then that is more than enough time to deal with them. I’m not fond of the driver driving in the fast lane/passing lane for the entire trip. Please be sure to merge back into the right hand lane when it is safe to do so.

Exiting the Freeway

That 50 km/h ‘Exit’ sign: Is that the speed that you need to get down to now or is it warning you to start slowing down to that speed?

This sign indicates that the recommended speed for the area would be 50km/h. It is important to drive in accordance of the road conditions and use caution and common sense when driving. Slowing down to the recommended speed will give you more control of your vehicle as you navigate the exit ramp.
What if it says 30 or 60 k/mh?

The same general rules apply.

Regain Confidence with a Driving Refresher Course from North Shore Driving School

Do you feel nervous or anxious entering or exiting roundabouts, traffic circles or freeways in B.C.? Consider contacting the friendly and professional driving instructors at North Shore Driving School at our North Vancouver Car Division. Our experienced staff will guide you through the B.C. GLP driving test and defensive driving best practices. We are also proud to offer refresher courses for seniors looking to renew their license. Contact NSDS today to regain confidence and maintain your independence. North Shore Driving School Ltd. has proudly served the Greater Vancouver Area since 1961. Call us today to schedule your next driving lesson.

Technology and Changes in the Driving World: Driving Habits in B.C.

Driving habits can be a concern for all drivers. We get into routines that may not be good habits; they could even be ticket able offences. Not stopping completely, not pulling out into intersections to get a clear view, shoulder checking properly or even at all.

Checking Our Rear View Mirrors

A proper shoulder check involves turning your head to check your car’s blind spots, especially prior to lane changing, and does not just involve using the mirrors. A common bad habit that many drivers tend to make involves only looking to the side front window when performing a shoulder check. A good driver will actually need to look in the back side window as a part of their shoulder check to ensure they check the blind spot of the car correctly. Moving your chin to your shoulder and rolling the eyes further is the proper head movement. Do not move your head so far as to move your shoulders off the seat to do so.

The Importance of Being Up To Date with Traffic Laws

Traffic laws have changed a fair amount to accommodate new knowledge and technology for traffic safety. Picking up a driving guide occasionally and reading it may be interesting and surprising as to what is expected of you.

If you have kept updating your car, you probably noticed that the cars are more fuel efficient, very comfortable, but it is hard to see out of the back window more than usual. The newer cars are safer, because of the design of crumple zones and side impact protection systems.

Precaution on Steering Wheel and Passenger Side Air Bags

These systems were designed to stop a 180 lbs. man from hitting the steering wheel at 60 kmh. If you are lighter than the intended weight these systems can sometimes hurt you in the event of a collision. If you weigh in at 110 lbs. or less, you may need to have an off switch put onto your airbag. Children should be put into the rear center seat as this is the best place for protection. As a driving instructor teaching at our driving schools in North and West Vancouver, I have noticed that people have a tendency to put their hand inside of the wheel. The deployment of the air bag during a collision can be a real danger as it comes out at 300 km/h to an arm that resting across the wheel. It is always advised to keep your hands at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions to maintain maximum control over the car at all times and to protect your body in the event of a collision.

Contact North Shore Driving School to Break Your Bad Driving Habits!

Call our car division driving school today to schedule a refresher course to learn how to break your bad driving habits. Our professional instructors will work with you to help you prepare for your GLP driving test or recertification exam for seniors looking to renew their license. Call or visit us today in North Vancouver for our senior driving refresher course in the North Shore area.

Technology and Changes in the Driving World: Traffic Sensors

Traffic sensors have been around the North Shore since the late 80’s early 90’s, but most people are not familiar with them unless they have taken lessons with a reputable driving school or a defensive driving course in North or West Vancouver. Traffic sensors were introduced as mass detectors. They detect the presence of cars, not their weight. People would get out of their cars and started jumping on the sensor area, to no avail. The traffic sensor is an electrical loop creating a magnetic field that detects the presence of a car. Motorcycles do not have a sufficient amount mass of steel to trip the sensor, so motorcyclists need to wave the next car forward onto the sensor.

The sensor can be noticed by a round circle that has been carved into the asphalt, older sensors can be diamond shaped or in a sideways figure of eight pattern. The sensor is placed at the stop line and sometimes before the stop line to detect the presence of two or more cars.

How Much Room Do I Leave Between My Car and an Intersection with a Traffic Sensor?

When the sensors came out and the rear center light was mandatory on new vehicles, the common safe driving practice was to stop one car length back from the stop line to prevent being pushed into the intersection when rear ended. This did not work well with the sensors as if you were one car length back the sensor saw nothing to change the light. More than once I’ve had to get out of my car and tell other motorists to move forward.

The main purpose of the sensors was to improve traffic flow and adjust to the traffic in real time. The main premise of this is as a vehicle passes in either direction over the sensor every 3 ½ to 4 seconds the light would hold green for up to one minute. This made predictions of the traffic light easier. Following distances have been adjusted to 2 to 4 seconds because of this.

The timing of the lights is usually set to the speed limit of the traffic (50 km/h), except in high pedestrian traffic areas, in that case 1.5 meter/second. Sections of Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver, BC and Broadway Avenue, Vancouver, BC are like that.

Buses are detected by a low resolution camera, thereby giving a transit priority light to the buses, as in east bound on Marine Dr. in West Vancouver, BC.

Contact North Shore Driving School Today!

Newer technology now allows sensor equipped intersections to communicate with one another to improve traffic flow. Now more than ever, the slow driver is not appreciated on the road. Going with the flow is better. Contact North Shore Driving School today for a GLP driving course in North Vancouver or call our Car Division on 1821 Lonsdale Avenue in for senior citizen driving refresher courses in the North Shore area.