Chronicles of Alex — Driving in Traffic, Lane Changes, Curves [Driving Hours 12.75 – 14.75]

Driving Hours 12.75 – 14.75

November 14

I learned:

It’s good to scan intersections with traffic lights by turning your head rather than just scanning with your eyes. Although I do need to practice scanning intersections well ahead of time. (You can see more if you turn your head rather than just using your peripheral vision. If you don’t turn your head and take a really good look, you’re kind of  assuming that it is safe to go when it might not actually be.) 

When you are waiting at an intersection at a red light, you can take the time to check your dashboard to see how your vehicle is doing. (Fuel, temperature gauges, etc.) 

Dashboard Blinking Lights

Turn Signals in Turn Lanes

Even if you are in a left-turn lane (and right-turn lanes), you should still use the turn signal because pedestrians (and any other road users) may not know where you are planning to go.

Driving in Right Lane, Left Lane

In a double-lane road, the right lane is generally safer than the left because it is farther away from oncoming traffic (it usually hurts less to have a problem with a car to your right and/or one that is travelling in the same direction as you vs. an oncoming car; if you had to pick one.) Also, the right lane may be more efficient because vehicles ahead of you won’t take up a lot of time turning left.

Sometimes the right lane is just as slow as you might have to wait for cars to turn right. Cars turning right may stop to wait for pedestrians before proceeding. 

Other possible things you might have to deal with driving in the right lane are pedestrians, people walking around next to their cars, bicycles, car doors opening, and busses, possible double-parked vehicles or cars stopping to parallel park. 

The left lane can be considered not as safe because a crash with an oncoming vehicle is one of the worse types of crashes.

Do not block intersections

Reminder not to stop on intersections. If there is a lot of slow-moving traffic in front of you when you are at an intersection, wait (i.e. stop before the intersection) until you know you’ll have enough space to stop out of the intersection (or crosswalk) before following the vehicle in front of you. This is yet one more reason not to follow the car in front too closely. It leaves you time to see the cars ahead stopping while still having time to stop before blocking the intersection. 

I practiced:

  • Positioning the car in between vehicles in the lanes beside me so as to stay out of their blind spots and keep them out of my blind spot

  • Lane changing

  • Stop signs

  • Traffic lights

  • Looking as far ahead as possible

Alex did 8 lane changes today


As well, we went on a sidewinding road. You don’t need a lot of steering when maneuvering down this kind of road. For instance, when the road is winding to the right:

  • Ahead of time, move your right hand up to between the “1” or “2” position.

  • As you go through the curve, pull down the wheel with your right hand.

This technique allows you to have more control over the car than pushing the wheel up does.

Warning Signs


There will sometimes be signs before the curves in the road, advising you to slow down before the curve. If you’re going to slow down, you should do so before you get to the curve so that you avoid having to brake while steering. Avoiding braking and steering at the same time is a general recommended practice for good control over the vehicle. This is especially important with increased speeds and on less than ideal road surfaces (i.e. wet or slippery). 

How to stay safe while driving on curvy roads.

Techniques: Curves And Corners

If there is no warning sign, it means you can probably go through the curve without slowing down before it as long as conditions are ideal.

Left Turns at Traffic Light Interse...
Left Turns at Traffic Light Intersections Canada, Vancouver British Columbia

Uncontrolled Intersections  ~ Children on the road

Watch for uncontrolled intersections. These are rare and generally found in quiet areas; however it is good to exercise caution and be prepared to yield, especially when visibility is poor.

Areas with uncontrolled intersections may have less traffic, but possibly more children/pedestrians.

Vehicle exiting driveway

Although a vehicle exiting a driveway (especially in a backwards fashion) is legally required to yield to other road users, you could decide to stop and allow him to do so, providing it is safe to stop. Clearly this is a difficult place to him to reverse.

There is nothing wrong with loving thy neighbour.


Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada and is an experienced writer, blogger, photographer, artist, philosopher, certified day dreamer and generally complicated human.

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