Intersections

Information related to intersections.

Round and Round the Roundabout

Traffic CircleRoundabouts and traffic circles are not new to British Columbia, but if the complaints in my inbox are any indication, they are still totally mystifying to some drivers. Common issues include bulldozing into the circle without yielding, signalling when there is no need, not signalling when there is a need, and yes, going around them in the wrong direction.

Most e-mails observe that while new drivers may be taught how to use these intersections properly, the rest of us have to figure it out on our own and somebody has to clue us in. In general, fingers point to either the provincial government or ICBC having primary responsibility for this task. I disagree. Basic responsibility for keeping driving skills up to date rest with the individual driver.

Make Way to Give Way

AmbulanceSirens! I'm being overtaken by an ambulance on the way to a call. Signal, move out of the right lane onto the shoulder and stop. Traffic around me seems to be well aware today too as they are doing much the same thing.

Emergency right of way is being granted promptly until the ambulance reaches traffic stopped for a red light at an intersection. This is where the emergency response grinds to a halt as the stationary drivers don't seem to be either willing or able to get out of the way.

Priority for Emergency Vehicles at Traffic Lights

Traffic & Emergency SignalsWhen you need the services of firefighters or paramedics seconds can seem like hours. Sooner is always better in situations like this so some traffic lights are equipped with sensors that listen for sirens and change the signals to make way for emergency vehicles. Not knowing what the priority signal lights meant led one driver to make a choice that could have resulted in a collision in a Ladysmith intersection.

VIDEO - Roundabouts: Driving Lesson

VideoRick August of Smart Drive Test introduces us to the roundabout or traffic circle.

Ready or Not, Here I Come!

Left Turn SignalThere was an interesting post on Twitter this week showing drivers interacting with pedestrians at the intersection of Cambie Street and West Broadway in Vancouver. The photo showed 3 cars facing a green light trying to turn onto Cambie from Broadway, 2 eastbound turning left and one westbound turning right into their respective lanes on Broadway. There was a steady stream of pedestrians crossing Cambie against a red don't walk signal.

Making Way for Emergency Vehicles

Fire TruckA reader was travelling in a major municipality recently and was stopped in a large collection of vehicles waiting for a red light at the intersection of two multiple lane highways. Emergency vehicles using lights and sirens approached from the rear and tried to get through the traffic and the intersection. There was significant difficulty and the reader was curious how far forward vehicles could move into the cross flow of traffic to assist in clearing a path.

CASE LAW - Purewal v Li

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThis is the story of a left turning driver collision at the intersection of Columbia Street and Marine Drive in Vancouver, B.C. Qiang Li was traveling eastbound on Marine Drive attempting to turn left onto Columbia Street. He collided with a car driven by Jasvir Purewal traveling westbound on Marine Drive in the curb lane. Mr Li's vision was limited by other vehicles waiting in the intersection and he relied on a hand gesture given by Vita Sinclair who indicated to him that the curb lane used by Mr. Purewal was clear.

Prepare to Stop When Lights are Flashing

Flashing Yellow Advance Warning SignWhen my father-in-law from Quebec visited us here in B.C. years ago he was impressed with the idea of the overhead sign with flashing amber lights marked Prepare to Stop prior to signalized intersections. He thought that these signs made it much easier for the driver to prepare for a safe stop in advance of the signal changing to red. At that time this type of signal was not used where he lived.

B.C.'s Bad Driver of the Week 3

Here's a driver that is not paying attention. He stops for the red light, but when the left turn arrow comes on for his direction and the truck on his right turns right on red, he decides that it's time to go and drives through the red shining brightly above his lane. Good thing that the left turn driver on the far side of the intersection is paying attention!

Shadow the Brake, They Might Not Stop

stop signOne evening while patrolling in an unmarked police car I approached a cross street that was controlled by stop signs. I could see a car approaching from my right going fast enough that I was concerned that the driver did not intend to stop. I shadowed my brake pedal and when the other vehicle was at a 45 degree angle making a right turn I stomped and stopped. So did he. We sat and looked at each other for a moment and when it was clear that he wasn’t going to go, I waved him forward.

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