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How To Drive In Vancouver

Welcome To Vancouver, what a fantastic sign, Host City - 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. But, what the sign above doesn't tell you, is the strange and peculiar way Vancouverites drive their automobiles. There should be some sort of addendum placed on all signs leading into Vancouver describing the perilous driving conditions, and the un-implied rules of the road. Having been born, and raised in Vancouver, driving here has become a learned artform, one that I would like to share with the world, hence this blog entry.
So my daily commute consists of me driving for a total of 3.48 minutes, yeah seriously, it takes me 3 minutes and 48 seconds to get to work. All my necessary amenities are less than 10 minutes away from my home. I drive a 2000 Nissan Xterra, which I bought new. The current reading from my odometer reads a mere 67,000km, so as you can probably tell by now I don't drive that much. Even though over the course of this past week I narrowly avoided being hit approximately 5 times. I'm having a hard time coming to terms with this, as I can imagine how new drivers to Vancouver must feel, having to navigate a city with so many potential accidents.
Lets just take a few seconds to do some serious math here... 
10 years = 67,000km
67,000 / 10 the number of years driven = 6,700
1 year = 6,700 km, there are 52 weeks in a year so 
6,700 / 52 = 128km a week
128km a week / 5 avoided accident = 25km
So for every 25km I travel, I run the risk of getting into an accident.

WTF? Hey ICBC where's my danger pay? 

ICBC is the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, who issues my insurance. Since 1991 I haven't been involved in any accidents so I'm considered a 'RoadStar Gold' and receive a discount on my premiums (Hope I'm not jinxing myself here!!!). I feel that paying less for insurance is a great bonus, but it's becoming harder and harder to avoid these accidents.

Now my rant is winding down but I still want to help some of you who may be reading this. If you live outside of the greater Vancouver area I have a few key lessons on navigating a safe passage through the city of Vancouver.

These tips are in no specific order.

How To Drive In Vancouver
  1. Being in front of all other drivers (leader of the pack) is the primary goal when driving in Vancouver. Here are some helpful hints to being the leader of the pack.
    1. When driving always take the center of the road, use the dotted lines on the road as an indicator as to where you should be driving. As a Vancouverite you are required to drive on the dotted lines, always making sure to use up all the road and do not allow any others to pass you. If other drivers attempt to pass you, position your vehicle in front of theirs and slam the brakes so as to block them. You must always be the dominant driver, being the first vehicle, with a pack following you. The above actions will ensure you will always maintain the front position while creating a traffic bottleneck behind you.
    2. When turning right and driving on the dotted line, do not signal, other drivers may attempt to pass you. Instead slow down while still blocking drivers behind you, then move all the way to the left and then fool everyone around you by turning right. Once you are half way through your turn you can apply your signal*. Make sure to continue to the center of the dotted line after your turn.
    3. When turning left do everything I mentioned above but opposite.
    4. When driving on the roads with more than two lanes
      1. Always match the speed of the vehicle next to you
      2. If you see a sign that says 'Slow Traffic keep right' it is warning you that upcoming traffic is slow and you must slow down and occupy the left lane or drive on the dotted line.
      3. If a vehicle is approaching you from behind at a higher rate of speed, and you happen to notice it, move in front of them. This will signal them that they are not obeying rule 1.4.1 and you have failed in maintaining rule 1.1
  2. In BC it is illegal to talk on the phone while driving, so you must pay attention when texting, so not to send the wrong messages. Yes texting is encouraged!
  3. Traffic lights in Vancouver have different meanings then elsewhere in the world. In Vancouver, traffic lights are the same as 4 way stops elsewhere in the world. So this is how you should navigate a Vancouver traffic light.
    1. Green
      1. Wait until oncoming traffic has past through the intersection. Then you can begin to slowly accelerate your vehicle.
      2. If no oncoming traffic is available, then wait a few moments before accelerating
    2. Green to Yellow
      1. This is usually when most drivers begin to travel through an intersection. Make sure not to drive fast enough for others to make it through. Remember in Vancouver, its suggested that only one car make it through an intersection during the green light.
    3. Yellow
      1. This is when most Vancouver drivers will drive through an intersection.
    4. Yellow to Red
      1. Continue to cross the intersection while pumping your brakes, so as to confuse drivers behind you, and the oncoming drivers waiting to turn.
    5. Red
      1. Text messages, style your hair, apply make-up, and pick your nose.
    6. Red to Green
      1. If you are the lead vehicle, then continue above items (5.1), do not accelerate under any circumstance!
  4. Do not use your rear-view mirror
      1. You can only use your rear-view mirror when using rule 1.4.3 (above).
      2. The rear-view mirror is for hanging fragrance trees, action figures, teddy bears.
      3. You can use the rear-view to apply make-up or pick your nose.
  5. Do not shoulder check, and do not signal to change lanes. You should be enforcing rule 1.1 therefore being in front at all times, which means you own the road. All others must steer clear of you.
  6. Vancouver stop signs indicate a reversal of rule 1.1.
    1. If there are no cars, then proceed as normal.
    2. If there are cars already stopped, then you must wait until all other cars have proceeded.
      1. You can only go when you and the cars behind you are the only cars remaining.
      2. Unless you're in a rush then you automatically get to go first.
Eventually I would like to see these rules of the road adopted throughout BC, as many Vancouverites tend to travel outside their city limits.
I hope these tips will help all those visiting our beautiful city understand our rules of the road. Welcome and good luck!


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