Q: What are some good places for new drivers to practice driving around the Vancouver area?
When you’re a fresh driver it can be a challenge to find an appropriate place to practice without worrying too much about other traffic; somewhere you can simply work on controlling your vehicle and getting used to things in a gradual way with potentially low stress levels.
Over the years I have found some spots that I like.
For a new driver who has never driven before (once you’ve graduated from the parking lot if applicable) and wants to practice basic car control, stop signs, basic right of way:
- Burnaby Heights residential area. One of the problems with this area is some of the streets are very narrow with parked vehicles. However, it’s pretty quiet. I think the only people driving here are people who live here, or are going to church here! Watch for traffic circles – these are difficult for new drivers and most new drivers do not steer a sufficient amount, so avoid at first or drive very very slowly, they require a lot more steering than you may originally think! (1 km/hr).
King Edward & Oak area: I really like this small square because it is very quiet (not much traffic at all).
- You don’t really have a large area to work with and may end up driving in circles (squares) but it’s good for fresh drivers wanting to just get a feel for things without worrying about other people. It is surrounded by high intensity roads like Granville, so make sure you know where your edges are!
Can’t forget North Van near the Sutherland high school.
- This area can be somewhat busier than the others but is generally good; busy around school hours, it’s much quieter on weekends.
There is also a very glorious area around 25th and Arbutus in Vancouver.
This is perfect for a brand-new driver as it is super quiet, generally.
Once those areas are too easy, then you can graduate to similar areas that have more traffic, like this area of Burnaby:
- Burnaby: Gilmore/Hastings area: much busier, but similar to the other areas in terms of types of intersections. I love this area because you can drive there for a long time and learn a lot about 2 way stops, 4 way stops, right of way, and practice your turning at the same time. It gets busy in rush hour but can be quite nice on the weekends and evenings.
Once this is too easy, then you can graduate to any other area that has similar types of intersections!
And once you’re bored of that, maybe you’re ready for a busier street? If it is your first time ever trying a main road (busy street with multiple lanes) one of my favourites is King Edward Ave in Vancouver, because it is long, it is generally wide, and generally divided so oncoming traffic is a lot further away from you, and you can keep going in both directions to the very end and find yourself with easy access to residential areas where you can turn around or stop. It’s good for practicing traffic light anticipation, lane changing, and all of that exciting stuff that goes along with it. Of course, there are a thousand other roads that would work well also!
If you know of any good roads/areas, or any roads/areas to avoid, pls leave a comment!
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