We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

A review of some rules of the road

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, June 1st 2018

Confused by the rules of the road at roundabouts? You’re not alone, and Steve Wallace is here to help.


There is only a duty to indicate when leaving a multi-lane traffic circle, usually referred to as a roundabout.
A traffic circle is a one-lane configuration, and the same rule applies.
A diverter is a residential mini-circle, which replaces both a four-way stop and uncontrolled intersection.
There is a necessity to signal a right and left turn, but not a straight through route at a diverter.
Crash rates at these circular areas are about half the number of those at a standard intersection.

When they do occur, they are much less severe since travel is in only one direction.

Paul wanted to know which vehicle goes first when vehicles are facing one another at an intersection, intending to turn right and left, each with a green light.
The right-turner always has the priority over the left-turner in this case.
When there are two or more lanes to choose from, it is best to never make such a turn with a vehicle beside one’s own.
There is a tendency for lazy drivers to turn wide left into a far lane as opposed to the closest.

Janice asked about the practice of drivers occupying the oncoming lane when passing a cyclist on a two-lane road.
She believes it is both unsafe and illegal to pass with the presumption that the oncoming traffic will move right to accommodate the illegal manoeuvre.
She is correct. Drivers can only do so with no oncoming traffic of any kind.
Arthur would like a review of a proper highway merge technique.
The merge lane is there to give drivers enough time to match the speed of traffic on the highway.

It is unsafe to go slow in such a lane, waiting for the all-too-infrequent opportunity to get on the highway.

Drivers should not only match the speed of highway traffic, but also look at the gaps in traffic.
The gaps are moving at the same speed as traffic.
They are bigger than most vehicles.
You will never hit a space.

You will never kill a space.

David has some great suggestions for drivers of vehicles with a manual transmission.

Shifting into neutral at a stoplight saves fuel and wear on the vehicle.
If the driver’s foot slips off the clutch, the vehicle does not lurch forward.
Shifting an automatic transmission into neutral, when stopped for an appreciable interlude, will save on fuel costs.

He believes that a fuel savings of about six per cent is garnered by doing so. He wanted to know if there were any unintended consequences of this habit.
Specifically, is it legal?
Yes, it is, and furthermore it is a common practice of many professional truck drivers.

June queried the length of time it takes to get a driver abstract.
Any government agent office or ICBC testing station will issue the document immediately, free of charge.
It is a driving record for the past five years.

It is a good idea to get a copy when renewing a driver’s licence at the five-year interval.
There may be erroneous infractions listed.
Even a single clerical misprint of an alphabetical letter or numerical digit can cause an improper registering of an infraction.
I check mine yearly. Service B.C. has local and 1-800 numbers to call for the request.

You must know your security key word, usually your mother’s maiden name.

Trevor had a question about the proper use of the vehicle horn. One tap is for moving forward.
Two taps for reversing, and three for getting the attention of others when odd things are happening at an intersection.




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