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Whether you are a seasoned driver or someone who has recently learned driving, it is always a good idea to stay up-to-date about the various rules and regulations practiced within the state. In this blog page, you will learn about road safety, driving tips, and a lot more. Call us today if you have any queries to discuss with our team!

16/01/2021

Understanding The Rules And Regulations Of School And Playground Zones.

Playground and school zones are similar, but different. 

 

School Zones

road safety sign

School zones are a florescent-yellow green sign in the shape of a house with two people crossing the street with school books under their arms. This sign advises drivers that there’s a school nearby and students may be in the area. If there is no rectangle shaped 30 km/h regulatory white speed zone tab underneath the sign, you are not required to reduce your speed unless students are present. The speed limit is 50km/h unless otherwise posted and you can keep at this speed unless there’s students present on the road

30km/h

School zones may also display a rectangle shaped 30 km/h tab underneath the school zone sign. This speed limit is in effect between 8am and 5pm on school days. They are not in effect when schools are not in session. For example, winter break, summer break, spring break, stat holidays, etc. On approach to this sign with 30km/h posted speed, you must reduce your speed to 30 km/h before entering the school zone, control and maintain your speed through the zone and identify where the zone ends. If you're unsure where the zone ends, look for the back of the sign on the opposite side of the road (traffic facing you).

School Zones Sign 50km/h when children on highway

This sign is in effect between 8am and 5pm on school days when children are on the roadway or shoulder. They are usually posted on highways where the regulatory speed limit is 60km/h or higher.

Playground Zones

Playground Zones Sign

Playground zones are yellow and in the shape of diamond with a child chasing after a ball. This sign advises drivers of a playground nearby and there could be children at play. If there is no rectangle shaped 30 km/h regulatory white speed zone tab underneath the sign, you are not required to reduce your speed unless children are present. The speed limit is 50km/h unless otherwise posted and you can keep at this speed unless there’s children present on the road.

speed limit sign 30km/h

Playground zones may also display a rectangle shaped 30 km/h tab underneath the school zone sign. This speed limit is in effect dawn till dusk, every day, 365 days of the year. On approach to the sign with 30km/h posted speed, you must reduce your speed to 30 km/h before entering the school zone, control and maintain your speed through the zone and identify where the zone ends. If you're unsure where the zone ends, look for the back of the sign on the opposite side of the road (traffic facing you).

** For road test purposes, make sure you're 30km/h before the posted speed and don’t get to 31 in this zone. ICBC has zero tolerance for speeding in playground and school zones, 1 km over the speed limit and you will fail your road test. 28 YOUR GREAT AND 31 YOUR DONE.

16/01/2021

Tips On How To Merge And Identifying Similar Signs.

Let’s address these signs first before we get into merging.

Road Merging Sign

This sign means the right lane ends ahead. If you’re in the right lane and see this sign ahead, you want to start preparing for a safe lane change. You do not want to wait until you're at the tip where the right lane ends and becomes one lane unless there’s heavy traffic. Adjust your speed if needed, keeping within the speed limit.

Road Merging Sign

This sign means two roads converge and merging or yielding is not required for this sign. Drivers joining this road from the right will have their own lane and merging or yielding movements are not required. You have your own lane of travel when you’re on the right.

These signs warn drivers there is a merge lane ahead.

Road Merging Sign Road Merging Sign

How to Merge

Merging When There’s Low To Medium Traffic On The Roadway

  1. The acceleration lane should be used to match the speed of traffic already on the roadway.
  2. Check your rear-view and side mirror to find a safe gap to merge onto the roadway.
  3. Signal to let drivers know your planning to move over.
  4. Do a shoulder check to ensure there is nothing in your blind spot.
  5. Merge gradually into the neighbouring lane.
  6. Cancel signal.
  7. Check your rear-view mirror and continue at posted speed limit.

Note: If you’re driving in a lane on the roadway with a merge ahead, it is advisable to adjust your speed to allow merging traffic to merge and/or to help them find a safe gap. This does not mean you need to slow down or speed up, just take your foot off your accelerator to accommodate for the merging traffic. If it's safe you can make a lane change to the left to make it easier for the traffic to merge over.

Road Merging Sign

Merging When There’s Heavy Traffic On The Roadway

Merge Like A Zipper 

Zipper merging helps to keep the flow of traffic flowing. By encouraging traffic to ride it out in both lanes, there is less of an unsafe speed difference between the lanes. If both lanes are going the same speed, then there are less people trying to pull quickly in and out of moving lanes.

 

Consider the merging lanes as a zipper, reducing two lanes to one in an orderly fashion: like the teeth of a zipper coming together.

 

When two lanes merge, as you will see in the picture above, the continuous traffic makes way for the merging traffic and vice versa until they are both in a single lane. The merging lane will end and will display a sign when this merge ending occurs.

 

How This Works

  • When there is heavy traffic on the roadway drivers should use the full acceleration lane.
  • You don’t merge early when you see a little gap in the traffic. Join the traffic on the roadway at the end of the acceleration lane.
  • This is the best way to keep traffic flowing.

Steps For Merging Like A Zipper

  1. Use the acceleration lane to ensure your speed is identical to the speed of traffic on the roadway.
  2. Check your mirrors frequently watching the flow of traffic.
  3. Use your turn signal to let drivers know your planning to move over.
  4. Pay attention to traffic, increasing or decreasing your speed to fit between other drivers, if necessary.
  5. Do a shoulder check to ensure there is nothing in your blind spot.
  6. Join gradually into traffic AT THE END. 
  7. Cancel signal.

Why It's Important

  • Reduces lane speed differences.
  • Some drivers may think that passing drivers are insulting them, the truth is that in heavily congested, slow-moving traffic situations drivers need to do everything they can to keep traffic moving and using the full acceleration and moving over at the end is the best option.
  • Improves throughput of traffic.
  • Reduces congestion. 
  • Reduces accidents in construction zones.
  • It doesn’t confuse drivers behind you for when and where they should merge.

16/01/2021

How To Properly Exit A Highway/Freeway

This lane allows you to move off the freeway and reduce your speed.

Proper guide to exit the highway 40 km/h Sign

When leaving the freeway, you want to maintain your speed on the freeway and wait for your car to be completely off the freeway before you slow down. 

 

Why? 

  • The purpose of the long exit lane is meant for slowing down your vehicle and reducing your speed. 
  • Slowing down on the freeway means everyone behind you are forced to slow down when they aren’t taking the exit, therefore you would be slowing down the flow of the traffic unnecessarily and defeating the purpose of the exit lane.

What About The Exit 40 km/h Sign? Don’t I Need To Be 40 km/h Before The Sign?

  • The yellow exit speed sign beside the exit lane is a recommended speed. As a driver you do eventually want to work towards slowing your vehicle to this speed (gradually), but you don’t have to be at this speed before the sign.
  • Wait until your car is completely off the freeway before you slow down to this speed.

Steps On How To Exit The Freeway

  1. Check your rear-view and side mirror.
  2. Signal your intention to turn off the highway.
  3. Maintain your speed and gradually move over.
  4. Cancel signal.
  5. Slow down gradually to the advisory speed at the exit.

16/01/2021

Knowing the difference between Yellow Road Lines and White Road Lines in British Columbia

Yellow Road Lines - Divide traffic moving in opposite directions. If there is a yellow line to your left, there will be traffic coming towards you on the other side of that yellow line.

Single Broken Yellow Line

Single Broken Yellow Line

This line means passing is allowed by drivers in lanes travelling in either direction, when safe.

Broken Line And Solid Yellow Line

Broken Line And Solid Yellow Line

This line means that if the broken line is on your side of the road you may pass, when it's safe. The drivers on the opposite side of the road with the solid yellow line are not allowed to pass.

Single Solid Yellow Line

Single Solid Yellow Line

This line means that passing is allowed in both directions with extra caution. You may need to cross over this line to make a left turn.

Double Solid Yellow Line

Double Solid Yellow Line

This line means no passing is allowed in either direction. It’s illegal to pass on a double solid yellow line.

Two-Way Left Turn Lane

Two-Way Left Turn Lane

These lanes are used by drivers travelling in opposite directions. These lanes are generally in heavy traffic areas where it's not suited to slow traffic on the roadway. These lanes are shared by drivers travelling in opposite directions. These lanes are not intended to drive in, drivers should move-in to these lanes as close to where they plan on turning. * Make sure you don’t use these lanes when you’re turning onto the road from a side street.

Painted Island

Painted Island

You always want to keep to the right of these yellow islands, and never drive on or over the island.

White Lines - are used to separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. White lines also mark crosswalks, stopping positions and the right shoulders of highways.

Solid White Line

Single Solid White Line

This line means lane changes are not allowed by drivers. It’s illegal to lane change over a solid white line. You can cross over these lines when entering or exiting a roadway. For example, leaving or entering a business, driveway, or gas station.

Single Broken White Line

Single Broken White Line

This line means lane changing is allowed by drivers when it's safe.

White Stop Line

White Stop Line

This solid thick white line is often seen just before a pedestrian crosswalk and before a stop sign for drivers to stop before this line.

Pedestrian Crosswalk

Pedestrian Crosswalk

You must stop before the crosswalk if pedestrians are in the crosswalk.

Pedestrian Crosswalk

Pedestrian Crosswalk

You must stop before the crosswalk if pedestrians are in the crosswalk.

Pedestrian-Activated Crosswalk With Illuminating Lights

Pedestrian-Activated Crosswalk With Illuminating Lights

The lights on this crosswalk warn that the crosswalk has been activated by the pedestrians. You must stop before the crosswalk for pedestrians in the crosswalk when the lights on the crosswalk are activated.

Reserved Lane

Reserved Lane

These are reserved lanes that are used by buses, motorcycles, High Occupancy Vehicles (HOVs), electric vehicles and bicycles. These lanes are marked with a thick solid white line and a white diamond shape. Signs and markings will let drivers know which type of vehicles can use these lanes. Other traffic is not allowed to use these lanes.

Bicycle Lane

Bicycle Lane

These are bicycle lanes and are for cyclists only. These lanes are marked with a thick solid white line and an outline of a bicycle. Cyclists must travel in the same direction as the traffic beside them.

16/01/2021

ICBC Road Test Tips For Drivers

How to automatically fail your ICBC road test

  • Speed- 10km/h over the speed limit.
  • Changing lanes over a solid white line.
  • 31km/hr or above in a playground or school zone.
  • Stop sign or right turn at red light- Not bringing the car to a complete stop or missing the stop sign.
  • Driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
  • Reversing into an intersection.
  • Driving over the curb and onto the sidewalk.
  • Not seeing a pedestrian and the pedestrian must move out of the way for you.
  • Driving through a red light.
  • Examiner must take verbal or physical control.
  • Not using two-way left turn lanes where they are available.
  • Not knowing what is on the road test.
  • Palming or hooking the steering and driving with one hand.

 

Worrying about being perfect on your ICBC road test or perfect with the maneuvers required by ICBC on your road test? Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t overthink it!

  • You don’t have to do everything with perfection to pass your ICBC road test. Just like any test in school, you don’t need to get a 100% score to pass and you don’t need that for your road test either. No one drives perfectly all the time, and that goes for driving instructors and driving examiners as well. You're allowed to make some mistakes, but it shouldn’t be something that’s consistent.
  • You shouldn’t be more worried about your parking than other things. Parking along with other maneuvers are things you will be required to perform on your road test, and you should know how to complete these maneuvers, but you don’t need to be a professional or nail it on the first try.
  • We don’t live in a perfect world and no one can always be perfect. Therefore, for your ICBC road test you’re allowed to make corrections, fix and readjust if it doesn’t work on the first attempt or second attempt.
  • Keep in mind that the examiners are not timing you on the road test. They’re not looking for you to park your car centre of the parking stall and be perfectly straight, if you're crooked don’t worry about it. If your back tire or front tire is on the stall line don’t sweat it.

 

As a driver on the road, you should be more worried about being safe on the road than being perfect. This goes for your ICBC road test as well.

  • When you're parking, make sure you’re looking around and looking in the correct direction when reversing. When you’re reversing, you must look out the rear window and not your rear-view mirror. Turn yourself around and look mostly out the back window, glance the side mirrors and you can look over your shoulders if needed. 
  • Don’t worry about being right up against the curb or not being perfectly straight when you’re done. You just shouldn’t have your car impeding traffic on the road.
  • ICBC examiners know that you’re a new driver and becoming a pro at parking can take a couple years. You shouldn’t be a hazard for yourself or others on that road when you go for your test, be safe and legal and don’t overthink it.

 

Know how to drive at all intersections properly to pass your ICBC road test

  • Know how to turn left, right and go straight at intersections. You must know how two-way and four-ways stops work and who has the right of way at these intersections.
  • Turning left- Make sure you're inside the intersection when you're making an unprotected left turn and waiting with wheels straight until the gap is identified.
  • Turning right- If the light is green you have the right of way to take the right turn and if the light is red, make sure you make a full stop before the stop line and inch forward to find a safe gap before you turn.
  • Two-way stops- Know that through traffic on the street without the stop signs has the right of way. If two vehicles are stopped at a two-way stop, the driver turning left must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle going straight or right.
  • Four-way stops- The first vehicle to arrive at the intersection and come to a complete stop should go first. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the one on the right should go first. If two vehicles are facing each other and arrive at the same time, the one turning left must yield to the one going straight or right.

 

Common mistakes people make on the ICBC road test and some tips

  • Not coming to a complete stop at the stop sign.
  • You don’t have to stop and pause for a couple seconds to prove that you’ve stopped. Just make sure that you have completely stopped moving, always feel the stop and don’t just slow down and do the touch and go stop.
  • Not making a complete stop for a red light right turn. Most drivers are aware that you can make a right turn at a red light but don’t know that you must come to a complete stop before you make the right turn. If you slow down and turn without making a stop, it will be considered an automatic fail for your road test, it’s illegal.
  • If you're at a red light, it means the traffic on the opposite side of the road has a green light. You must yield to this traffic and find the gap before you make a right turn.

 

Speeding on your ICBC road test. You must watch your speed when you’re on your ICBC road test.

  • Technically, speeding is driving 51 km/hr in a 50 zone.
  • If the speed on the road is 60 km/hr, drive 60. If the speed on the road is 50 km/hr, drive 50. If the speed is 30km/hr, drive 30.
  • Let’s say you go 1 km or more over the speed limit, the examiner can mark you for it. Here’s how it works, if you go over the speed limit the examiners will give you a small window to fix your speed and if you don’t fix it, they will mark you for it. 
  • Keep in mind 10 km over the speed limit is an automatic fail.
  • Don’t follow the speed of others on the road. Keep to the posted speed limit. Unless a sign tells you otherwise, it's 50km/h within cities and towns and 20km/h in a lane or alleyway.
  • If you haven’t seen a posted speed limit sign, never assume the speed, stay at 50km/h and remember at the ICBC office the speed is 20km/h. You don’t want to fail your test in the ICBC parking lot.
  • Watch out for school and playground zones on your road test. ICBC has no tolerance for speeding in these zones. If you do 31 km/h in any of these zones, you will fail your road test. 28 km/hr is a great speed and 31 km/h you're done. Ensure you are at the posted speed prior to entering the zone and have exited the zone fully before you increase your speed.

 

Missing shoulders checks on your ICBC road test

  • You can fail your road test if you aren’t doing enough shoulder check on your road test.
  • You're required to do a shoulder check before your lane change, before you pull over/pull into traffic, before you merge, move over (lane position change), and before your turn.
  • Don’t assume ICBC will be okay with you not making a shoulder check if you are 100% sure nothings there. You must still show the ICBC examiner that you’ve checked your blind spot.
  • Even if your mirrors are adjusted properly, there are areas to the sides of your car (blind spots) that just can’t be seen in your rear-view or side mirrors. 
  • You must turn your head 90° and look to see if there’s any pedestrians, vehicles, motorcycles or cyclists or any other road users that could be in your blind spot before turning.
  • Make sure your shoulder checks are done before you turn. If you shoulder check with or after the turn it won't count. The purpose of the shoulder check is to check there’s nothing there before you move over or turn, if you check with the turn, then you have defeated the purpose of the shoulder check. 

 

Unnecessary stops on your ICBC road test

  • Do not stop the test for no reason. You should stop for pedestrians, stop signs, and red lights. 
  • If you're approaching a two-way stop intersection and you're through traffic taking a right turn with no stop, then you shouldn’t stop here unless there’s a pedestrian crossing.
  • If you're turning right at a green light you have the right-of-way and shouldn’t have to stop before you turn.
  • Don’t make unnecessary stops at a yield. You don’t need to stop at a yield if there’s a safe gap or no traffic on the through road.

 

Using your parking brake for your ICBC road test

  • Make sure you put on the parking brake every time you complete your parking maneuver.
  • It's common to see people don’t use the parking brake. You should always use your parking brake because there is always the potential that mechanical failure can occur.
  • It's also not good for your transmission to hold the thousands of pounds your vehicle weighs. Your parking brake will hold all this weight so your transmission doesn’t have to do the work for it.
  • Don’t forget to apply the parking brake when the examiner pulls you over to the curb and asks you to park the car.
  • When you park on the hill, you don’t have to touch the curb with your tires. You should turn the wheels according to the hill you're parked on and turn the wheels all the way.
  • Downhill- turn the wheels to the right.
  • Uphill with curb- turn the wheels to the left.
  • Uphill with no curb- turn the wheel to the right.

 

Being too cautious for your ICBC road test

  • You can fail your road test for being overly cautious on your ICBC road test.
  • Don’t be driving 15-20 km/h below the speed limit and be slowing down unnecessarily.
  • Most drivers are nervous for the test and ICBC examiners are aware that you're nervous. Just don’t drive super slowly and stop where you're not required.
  • Breathe, don’t overthink and remember the examiners aren’t there to fail you on the road test. They want to make sure you’re a safe and competent driver. 

 

Drive for the conditions on your ICBC road test

  • Slow down if the conditions are not ideal. For example, snow and icy conditions.
  • ICBC examiners can fail you for driving at the speed limit and not reducing your speed for the conditions.
  • You want to use your common sense and decide what the safe speed is for the conditions. I wouldn’t recommend driving 30km/h in a 50km/h zone. This would most likely fail you for the test.
  • Don’t rush it, think about it and decide what would be safest.
  • You always want to show the examiners that you can See-think-do without the need of a supervisor to assist you. Show them you're competent and have the skills to adjust for the conditions.
  • Maintain a good following distance from the vehicles ahead of you. Stay 4-5 seconds behind them.
  • When you're slowing down in slippery conditions, you want to brake early and creep up to where you want to actually stop. This way when you come up to the intersection you're not going to nail the brakes and slide into the intersection.

 

Steering and hand positions for your ICBC road test

  • You're not allowed to hook, palm, or drive with one hand. 
  • ICBC doesn’t care if you use dry steering.
  • You can either use hand over hand or shuffle steering for your ICBC road test. However, hand over hand is the best way to steer but shuffle is fine as well.
  • Both hands must be always on the steering wheel. Unless you're reversing in a straight line.
  • You're never allowed to take both hands off the steering wheel when you're driving but you can take one hand off if you have a good reason for it. For example, you need to scratch something, adjust the heat. Remember to put your hand back on the steering after this and never rest your elbow or arms anywhere.
  • There are 3 acceptable hand positions. If we regard the steering wheel as an analog clock, we can have our hands at 10 & 2, 9 & 3 or 4 & 8.

 

Observation issues on your ICBC road test

  • Not seeing playground/school zones, not seeing pedestrians, not seeing yellow lights, not seeing the lower speeding sign ahead, and not seeing the red light and taking a right turn without stopping first.

 

Turning problems on your ICBC road test. Turning wide, cutting the corner, and going over solid white lines, etc. 

  • Turning wide on the right turns and going into another lane or cutting the corner and crossing over solid white lines. Turning left and cutting corners.
  • To fix this, you will need to get more practice and/or training.

 

Lacking knowledge for who has the right of way on your ICBC road test

  • Not knowing when you have the right of way (stopping for someone when you have the right of way) and not knowing which car you must yield the right of way to.
  • You must know that straight through & right turning cars have the right of way over left turning cars.
  • If you’re approaching a green light and wanting to go straight or right, you have the right of way over the car making the left turn. 
  • If you’re approaching a two-way stop and you're on the through road wanting to make a right turn or go straight and you're not facing a stop sign, then you have the right of way here. If there’s a left turning vehicle ahead of you wanting to make a left turn, they must wait until you’ve completed the turn and if there’s anyone waiting at the stop signs, they must wait until both of you have cleared the intersection.
  • You may not pass your ICBC road test if you’re confused about the basic road rules.

 

Scanning intersections and scanning side streets on your ICBC road test

  • You should be scanning left, center, and right before passing side streets and scanning intersections before you go through them. This is a must at all two-way stops, four-ways stops, traffic lights, yields, and round about. 
  • Don’t have tunnel vision and be looking straight and straight only when going through intersections.
  • When you're stopped at a red light and it changes to green, make sure you look left, center, and right to make sure you know ones running a red light before you proceed.
  • Make sure the examiner sees you’re looking. Turn your head and look in all directions.
  • Don’t just look with your eyes, because to the examiner it might seem like you aren’t looking.

 

Lane changing on your ICBC road test. Is it legal or illegal?

  • It's illegal to lane change over a solid white line. Solid white lines are always near intersections and crosswalks.
  • When the examiner asks you to make a lane change, look ahead and see if you're nearing the intersection and make the lane change before the solid white line or wait until you’ve passed the intersection.
  • It's not practical to make a lane change over a crosswalk, between side streets, inside an intersection and on a curve. 

 

Merging and exiting the freeway for your ICBC road test

  • Don’t confuse a merge with a yield and stop and wait for traffic to pass before you merge onto the freeway.
  • You want to use the full acceleration lane to match the speed of traffic on the roadway you are about to join. Be careful not to go over the speed limit.
  • Don’t merge at 30 km/h in a 60 zone unless you have a very good reason for it.
  • When you leave the freeway, you don’t slow down while you’re still on it. If you do this, you will be slowing down the flow of traffic and defeating the purpose of the exit ramp.
  • Wait until your car is completely off the freeway before you slow down.
  • The yellow exit speed sign on the ramp is a recommended speed. You do eventually want to get down this speed, but you don’t have to slow down to this speed before the sign.

 

** If you're going for your N test you won't be required to merge onto the highway/freeway. However, when you go for your Class 5 you may have to.

 

Emergency vehicles on your ICBC road test

  • If you encounter an emergency vehicle on your road test you must know how to deal with it.
  • If you don’t know how to yield to an emergency vehicle for your test, this will be considered a violation and you will automatically fail your ICBC road test. 
  • It's common for new drivers to not know how to deal with emergency vehicles and it's not common to expect it on your test but it does happen.
  • They won’t forgive you because you’re a new driver
  • I have seen drivers fail perfect road test because they didn’t take the right steps for the emergency vehicle

 

360-degree checks for your ICBC road test

  • This is a vital all-around check that’s required on your road test anytime you change a gear, leave and re-enter traffic or change directions.

 

Maneuvers and things, you will be asked to demonstrate on your ICBC road test

  • Park downhill/uphill- Adjust your wheels based on whether you have a curb or no curb.
  • Reversing along the curb in a straight line- Look out the back window and do 360-degree check before reversing. 
  • Parallel Parking- You should be within 30 cms (1 foot) of the curb when you’ve completed your parallel.
  • 3-point turn- Find a safe and legal location before you perform this maneuver.
  • Reverse stall park- Look out the back window mostly when backing up and do a 360-degree check before reversing.
  • Hand signals- Know your left, right, and stop hand signals.
  • Hazard perception-Identify potential hazards around your vehicle.
  • Exit vehicle- Check your mirrors and shoulder check left before you open the door.

 

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

  • You can’t get better and confident without practice.
  • Don’t practice on the same roads all the time.
  • Drive downtown, busier, and more complex areas.
  • Don’t just drive in the same areas. Drive everywhere and drive-in unfamiliar areas.
  • Don’t just drive on the highway/freeway all the time.

GENERAL INFORMATION

4 Seasons Driving School
3939 Blakley Road
Prince George, BC

V2N 6Z6

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