We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Once more into the reader mailbag

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, August 18th 2017

Confused about roundabout etiquette? Driving instructor Steve Wallace has your back.



Leo and Max requested a short course on proper roundabout etiquette.

Here are the basics.

A driver needs only to signal an intention to exit a roundabout.
It is a good idea to signal when entering, if one intends to do an immediate right turn.

Drivers should time their movement so as to avoid stopping.

A roundabout, above all, is meant to keep the traffic moving.
It eliminates a left turn in front of oncoming traffic, and therefore the head-on crash potential, since everyone is going in the same direction.
In short, the roundabout configuration results in crash reduction, as compared with the traditional traffic-signal system at intersections.

It is best to traverse the circle without other vehicles beside your vehicle in a multi-lane configuration.
This will allow for an escape, should another driver make an unsafe lane change.

Several readers wanted to know whether I was personally in favour of the resurrection of the previous photo-radar program.

The answer is no!

What I would be in favour of is a time-and-distance photo-radar pilot program in a place such as the Malahat, where no effective alternative route is available when a crash occurs, and the highway must be closed for an extended period.
In effect, the province needs to show us it would be an advantage before implementation.

Al, from Sidney (where he says scooters rule the roads and sidewalks, and their riders look neither left nor right) wants to put the old photo-radar units in school zones and playground areas.
He thinks they are gathering dust somewhere.
Wendy wanted to know the meaning of yellow diamond speed signs.
These signs are advisory.

They are placed in areas where there might be sharp curves in the road, or at the crest of a hill, to advise drivers of the potential danger because of the lack of visibility.

They do not designate a legal speed zone, but drivers who crash in such areas can receive a traffic ticket for travelling too fast for conditions.
Only white signs with black lettering govern speed zones.
Anne wanted to get some direction in the use of back-up and blind-spot cameras.
These cameras are meant to confirm what a driver has already seen.

They are an additional tool to check the surroundings.
The B.C. driving test does not allow these devices to be the primary information tool.
For instance, one must not look at the back-up camera if the vehicle is moving.
It can only be checked when the vehicle is stopped.
The same goes for blind-spot cameras.
The driver must still physically check over the shoulder before a lane change or turn.
There is no such double-check when using the rear-view mirror.

Is this a contradiction?

You be the judge.

Van suggested that flaggers be given much higher signs, in order for the traffic approaching to see the flaggers from far away, ensuring their safety.

Sounds like a good idea.

Flaggers are in very high-risk situations, and deserve our support.

Van had another suggestion that has been a pet peeve of mine, as well.
He wants all road lines to be repainted with reflective paint.
This should be mandatory.
Do we have to wait for some innocent person to be killed because of the lack of lane lines being properly visible?
It would be refreshing to see our authorities become proactive for once, as opposed to being reactive, as is too often the case.

Keep the questions coming and I will do my best to answer them.

If I don’t know the answer, chances are fairly good I will know someone who does.




© 2023 Joan Wallace Driving School. All Rights Reserved.