Do Roundabouts and Traffic Circles Make You Dizzy?

traffic_circle.thumbnailTraffic CircleLove them or hate them, roundabouts and traffic circles are a fact of life for BC drivers. They slow traffic at intersections without stopping it, providing good throughput and increased safety. They are also environmentally friendly as idle time at intersections can be reduced or eliminated depending on traffic volume. All that is left for us to do, if my e-mail is any indication, is to learn to use them properly.

Since we drive around traffic circles counterclockwise, there is no need to signal as you approach. There is only one way to go and other traffic does not need to be notified. You do signal your intent to exit though as there are choices to be made by both you and the other traffic around you.

Yes, just as the sign shows, you must yield to other traffic already in the traffic circle before you enter it.

Are you being overtaken by an emergency vehicle using flashing lights and a siren? Pull over and stop before you enter the roundabout or continue to the nearest exit, clear the roundabout and then stop to let the emergency vehicle pass by.

Multiple lane roundabouts require planning before you enter them. If you intend to turn right or go straight through, enter in the right lane. If you intend to go straight through or turn left, enter in the left lane. ICBC advised that you must not change lanes in a multiple lane roundabout.

Reference Links:

How to Use Roundabouts – Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Tips for Roundabouts and Traffic Circles – BC Driving Blog
A Critical Look at Roundabouts – Institute of Transportation Engineers
Other Roundabout and Traffic Circle Articles on DriveSmartBC

 

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

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Should Bad Drivers be Shamed Publicly?

By DriveSmartBC

Deliberately bad drivers seem to be appearing more and more often on our highways. If the e-mail to the DriveSmartBC website is any indication, other drivers are no longer shrugging it off and report offenders in the hope that they will be held accountable. Some, including myself, have taken to posting photos or video of selfish, inconsiderate or dangerous drivers in that hope that public shaming might improve that driver’s behaviour.

Visit your favourite search engine and enter bad drivers of Vancouver or bad parkers of Kelowna and you will find all sorts of examples of driving or parking that make you wonder why these people still hold valid BC driver’s licences. Probably some of them do not.

Do any of these bad drivers ever see themselves on the internet? I’ve only had one instance where a woman named as the driver responsible for a collision in case law that I posted ask to have her name removed from DriveSmartBC. As it was a published BC Supreme Court judgement, I explained and refused. Nothing further was said.

Shame is a very powerful emotion that can drive personal change. It is also a useful tool to encourage others to conform to societal norms. Is it morally justifiable? If you have no other means to counter people choosing to put your life and health at risk, perhaps it is.

Here is a video of BC licence 942WWX from my commute to work this morning. The incident served as the inspiration for this article:

 

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years, he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and ten as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC website, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and websites.

Road Safety: How Many Tie Downs Do You Need?

By DriveSmartBC

Tie Down StrapThe load consisted of rough lumber, about 2×6 or 2×8 size 12 to 14 feet long and 3 feet high on a flat deck trailer pulled by a large pickup truck. Load security was provided by a single heavy strap wrapped once around the middle of the load. The combination was being pulled at highway speed which was 90 km/h. Do you think that this load was secured to the trailer sufficiently?

Even if you knew nothing about the rules that must be followed to properly tie down this load I think you would join me in shaking my head. Have you seen a commercial truck drive past with a similar load at any time while you were driving? How many straps did they have wrapped around the load and how big were they? This knowledge alone should tell you that one strap is not enough.

The minimum number of tie downs needed is determined by the length of the load. Since the load was more than 10 feet long but not more than 20, it needed three. These straps must also be distributed equally along the load.

Next, the capacity of the tie downs must be considered. The aggregate strength must be at least equal to half of the weight of the load. Depending on how strong the tie downs are, you may end up having to use more than the minimum of three but never less.

There are many other loads and situations that can complicate securing a load fully and properly. Rather than trusting to luck, a quick call to the nearest weigh scale, some of which are always open, will get you the expert advice that you need for everyone to be safe.

Reference Links:

  • Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community website about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years, he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and ten as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC website, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and website.

No need for speed: Rossland Slows Down

By DriveSmartBC

Map Showing Rossland BC

The City of Rossland has done something rare in our motor vehicle centric world where many drivers think that faster is better. Effective on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 the speed on municipal streets has been lowered to 30 km/h. Hmm you say, that’s the same speed as a school zone. Well, not in Rossland, the speed there has been lowered too. It’s 15 km/h in pick up areas and 20 km/h elsewhere. Interesting!

Reducing speeds on residential streets from 50 km/h to 30 km/h results in a significant reduction in injury and fatality when a vehicle collides with a pedestrian.

Reducing speeds on residential streets results in a more livable neighbourhood. Everyone will be more likely to play, walk or bike because they feel less threatened by drivers.

Do you have 30 seconds to spare? The city’s newsletter contrasts travel times on one of the streets before and after the change. It will cost drivers half a minute.

It will be interesting to revisit this decision in a years time to see if the citizens of Rossland keep this as their residential speed and to ask ICBC about it’s effect on collision rates. If it turns out to be successful perhaps this is the example you can use to help convince your municipality to follow suit.

Reference Links:

  • Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community website about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years, he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and ten as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC website, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and website.

#wecandrivebetter: SGI and police focusing on commercial vehicle safety throughout August

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