We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

How other drivers see us on the Island

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, September 16th 2016

Steve Wallace writes that many visitors have commented on the complexity of the McTavish Road roundabouts.

There seems to be a geriatric delay at intersection traffic lights that have changed from red to green.

This time delay is apparently inexplicable to people who live in much larger cities.

There is said to be a full count of three before a vehicle begins a left turn at a proper left-turn advance light.

Some visitors find this delay to be frustrating.

Others see it as a very safe way to avoid a T-bone crash, particularly from a red-light runner.

Relax: We are on Island time.

Why are the traffic lights on major routes not synchronized as they are in most metropolitan areas?
Why can’t a driver make a U-turn at an intersection with traffic lights, when the left turn arrow is flashing and pedestrians are held back by the “Don’t Walk” signal?

It works throughout most states south of us.

Why not here?
When visitors learn there are 13 municipal governments in Victoria added to the interface of provincial and federal jurisdiction, they are quizzical at best, and sometimes in total disbelief.

How is traffic co-operation among these municipalities co-ordinated?

The answer is simple — it isn’t.
Many visitors have arrived in Victoria by air and have encountered the “triple bypass” of traffic circles, affectionately referred to by some locals as “spaghetti junction.”

A triple bypass is meant to remedy a heart attack, not cause one.

Of all the airport introductions to a city, our own method of tourist torture has become rather famous throughout North America.

It is rumoured that car-rental companies have a special warning for visitors to Victoria concerning these roundabouts.
Visitors to our Island have never experienced as many speed zone signs.

Some ferry terminals have a posted 5-km/h signs at the entrance ramp to their parking lot.

Have you ever tried to go 5 km/h for any appreciable distance while entering a parking zone from an exit ramp?

Visitors have all sorts of comments, mostly negative, about the illogical posted speed limits, which cover the base-10 numerical equivalent of a stepladder.
Visitors say they have seen speed zone signs of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 and 120 km/h all over the Island.

They see the same speed signs in the wideopen, relatively safe urban areas as are placed on the death-defying road to Tofino.
When traveling at night, many visitors feel we have failed to grasp the idea of reflective painted lane lines.

When it rains at night, these same visitors are confused by the fact that the old burnt-off lane lines actually become more prominent than the newly painted ones.

Join the club.

Where are the potholes? Most visitors from areas that get considerable snowfall in winter are very impressed with the good condition of our roads.

The drivers, they say, are extremely polite and will allow a merge and accommodate a pass on the highway.

We Islanders will wave a thank-you when permitted to merge by another driver.
Visitors ask why there are not more guardrails on dangerous curves, particularly in the northern regions and on the way to the West Coast’s rugged destinations.
Other questions are not so surprising.

What does an L or N on the back of the vehicle mean?

Do we use deer whistles? Can a driver pass a horse-drawn carriage?

What seems normal to us is sometimes seen as odd by visitors.





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