Getting your driving license in BC is a major worry for some people so I thought I would go over a few tips on driving that might help.
We drive on the right hand side of the road. You will find it fairly easy to remember. Your steering wheel is on the left side of the car, which is a good clue. Another clue is the oncoming traffic when you are on the wrong side of the road.
For drivers used to driving on the left hand side of the road, you can still drive in the left lane on the highway, even if you are actually going slower than the traffic in the right lane. I think a lot of Canadians secretly want to drive on the left – why else would so many of them hog the left lane, oblivious to the traffic passing them on the right. Being Canadians no one honks or flashes their lights, so you can enjoy driving on the left for as long as you like.
Canadians are generally pretty law abiding. But as a way of giving us an experience of breaking the rules we are allowed to turn right on a red light. This is a thrill.
Of course the thrill can also be risky. Firstly because of the risk of hitting or being hit by someone coming from the other direction (where they have a green, amber or even red light). Secondly because of the pedestrians who are likely to be claiming their absolute right to cross in front of you. And finally the reason the driving examiners are so hot on shoulder checks – there could be a cyclist on your right.
Canadians are a literate nation and enjoy reading. Our traffic signs give us the chance to read while we are driving. These are usually signs with a symbol and then a list of conditions. This can make understanding them difficult and might also explain why some people drive so slowly – they are reading the signs, perhaps mentally translating them into their own language.
An example of this is the no left turn sign that applies only at certain times of the day. There are a lot of these in Vancouver. I recommend that you time your journey so as to hit the left turn just as it becomes permitted. This will annoy the cars behind you but gives you an immense sense of satisfaction. Almost like breaking the rules.
Finally roundabouts. These are a thrill because there are so few of them and most Canadian drivers are completed foxed by them. If you come across a roundabout or traffic circle (a small roundabout) then be prepared for anything. Other drivers may stop half way round and wave you on, or they may not stop at the roundabout at all.
I hope these tips prove useful in preparing for your own driving experience here in BC.