British Columbians divulge worst driving habits in survey

Media post: You Should Avoid “Dry Steering”

Dry Steering refers to the action of turning your car’s steering wheel when the vehicle isn’t moving. While it takes little effort to do this, it is hard on your cars front end, the pavement you are driving on, and your tires. Here’s what you should know.

About dry steering

Turning the steering wheel when a car is standing still is easy. Thats because today’s power steering systems are powerful. The technology involved in the past used to be hydraulic (fluid-based) but our technical source at Ziegler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram(Downers Grove, IL) told us that most of today’s manufacturers are using electric-powered steering systems.  Regardless of the technology involved, however, today’s power steering systems are effortless, and that’’s the problem. Powerful steering systems “grind” tires as they turn which can wear them, your front-end, and the pavement underneath. Here’s a demonstration: Stand on one foot and try to ‘turn that foot.’ Do you feel the torque and hear the grinding sound? Picture this with hundreds -perhaps thousands- of pounds of pressure pressing down instead of your body weight. Things will begin to wear.

Why is it hard on your tires?

The grinding action wears down your tires. This, of course, is a minor thing if it happens once in a while but if it happens many times a day, it can add up quickly. If you have to dry steer your way out of parking spots several times a day, this will likely wear your tires more than driving the vehicle.

And your front-end?

The ‘twist’ you felt on your own foot in the example above… multiply that by a few hundred times for the torque on your steering parts. Sometime when you have the chance, either watch underneath the front of someone’s vehicle while they steer it or have someone turn your steering wheel while you watch it. If this is done while the vehicle is moving – even ever-so-slowly – then it is a relatively non-stress action. But do that when the vehicle is not moving and it’s like trying to turn your foot – as you did in the first step above.

And pavement?

Look around in a parking lot where cars do a lot of turning and notice the black ‘skid marks’  and some of them that actually ‘tore up’ the asphalt. Now, this may be something that doesn’t concern you on the road, or at work, but it might be something that tears up your asphalt at home.

Don’t dry steer if you can avoid it. It wears out your tires faster, will wear out your vehicle front-end parts more quickly, and it can gouge up your asphault driveway.



Driving without a valid driver’s licence

Driving without a valid licence is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act. Penalties for unlicenced driving are serious.

First offence

Police will issue you a violation ticket the first time they find you driving unlicenced. They will not permit you to continue driving.

Second offence

With a second offence police will:

  • Impound the car you were driving for 7 days, whether or not you own it
  • Prohibit you from driving until you have a valid B.C. licence, met all licensing requirements and paid your fines

Future offences

Police will charge you with ‘driving while prohibited’ if you continue driving. It’s an offence punishable by a $500 fine and up to six months in jail for a first offence.

Drivers licensed outside of B.C.


If you are a visitor to B.C. you can drive for up to six months if you hold a valid foreign or out-of-province licence. Any restrictions on your licence apply in B.C.

Visiting students

If you are a foreign or out-of-province student, you can drive with a valid foreign or out-of-province driver’s licence for longer than six months. You must be a registered, full-time student at a recognized institution. You must also carry your student ID to show police you’re a student.

New residents

If you hold a valid driver’s licence from outside B.C., you can continue to use it for 90 days. After 90 days, your out-of-province licence is not valid in B.C.

It’s best to apply for a B.C. licence as soon as you move here. If you have a valid licence from elsewhere, you must produce it when police ask or they’ll give you a Notice of Driving Prohibition.

If you produce a valid licence, police will allow you to continue unless they have evidence you should hold a B.C. licence.

Applying for a review

Apply online for a review of an unlicensed driving prohibition.



Ontario driver charged for driving too slow on Highway 401

Traffic on Highway 401 in Toronto on Monday April 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn


Are you allowed to plug in your phone while driving in Quebec?

A recent court ruling adds to the growing list of decisions that interpret the law on the use of portable devices while behind the wheel.

Jesse Feith, Montreal Gazette,  Driving


Driving without a valid driver’s licence

Driving without a valid licence is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act. Penalties for unlicenced driving are serious.

First offence
Police will issue you a violation ticket the first time they find you driving unlicenced. They will not permit you to continue driving.

Second offence
With a second offence police will:

Impound the car you were driving for 7 days, whether or not you own it
Prohibit you from driving until you have a valid B.C. licence, met all licensing requirements and paid your fines
Future offences
Police will charge you with ‘driving while prohibited’ if you continue driving. It’s an offence punishable by a $500 fine and up to six months in jail for a first offence.

Drivers licensed outside of B.C.
If you are a visitor to B.C. you can drive for up to six months if you hold a valid foreign or out-of-province licence. Any restrictions on your licence apply in B.C.

Visiting students
If you are a foreign or out-of-province student, you can drive with a valid foreign or out-of-province driver’s licence for longer than six months. You must be a registered, full-time student at a recognized institution. You must also carry your student ID to show police you’re a student.

New residents
If you hold a valid driver’s licence from outside B.C., you can continue to use it for 90 days. After 90 days, your out-of-province licence is not valid in B.C.

It’s best to apply for a B.C. licence as soon as you move here. If you have a valid licence from elsewhere, you must produce it when police ask or they’ll give you a Notice of Driving Prohibition.

If you produce a valid licence, police will allow you to continue unless they have evidence you should hold a B.C. licence.



The Risks of Driving Without a Valid Driver’s Licence

newsite May 24, 2017

Not having a valid driver’s licence in British Columbia is more than just an administrative inconvenience if you get caught. It can also lead to serious penalties when driving without a license. Understanding the potential consequences for driving without a valid driver’s licence could help you to avoid serious problems. Many individuals who are unlicenced are still driving on the roads.

Most of these individuals have lost their licence due to prohibition associated with any high risk driving behavior or have had their licence taken away as a result of outstanding fines. The consequences of driving without a valid driver’s licence are quite severe in British Columbia. The consequences increase for those individuals who may continue to drive illegally.

Penalties Levied Against Those Driving without a Valid Licence
If you are caught driving without a valid driver’s licence in British Columbia for the first time, you’ll receive a violation ticket and you will not be permitted to drive a vehicle any further on that day. If you are caught a second time, however, the consequences increase. The notice on your driving record with tell police that you have a previous conviction for no driver’s licence and state that they will impound the vehicle immediately on the scene for a period of seven days. This is true whether or not you own the vehicle.

You might assume that you’re not at risk for being caught without a licence if you avoid other traffic violations, but this does not necessarily mean you are safe. If you are stopped for any reason and the officer asks to see your materials, you could be facing consequences. Simply put, any time that you get inside a vehicle to drive without the appropriate licence to do so, you are risking further penalties. It’s best to comply with the terms of any licence suspension or revocation.

Get Your Licence Updated Quickly If New to the Area
You will be prohibited from driving and this prohibition period remains indefinite until you are eligible to receive a valid British Columbia driver’s licence, pay off any traffic fines and handle any other administrative consequences. Many people who are visiting British Columbia do not realize that they have a certain period of time in which to obtain a valid driver’s licence.

You can drive for up to six months in British Columbia if you have a valid out of province or a foreign driver’s licence. Any restrictions that are currently on your home licence also apply in British Columbia. Visiting students, however, can drive for longer than six months, but need to remain registered full time at an academic institution.

A new resident in British Columbia may continue to use their licence from a previous province for up to 90 days. It is a good idea for anyone who has recently moved to the area to apply for the driver’s licence right away. If you believe that you are improperly identified as an unlicenced driver or believe that you should be exempted from any mandates to hold a British Columbia valid driver’s licence, you need to submit these reasons to the Superintendent for the motor vehicles. Driving without a licence can carry significant consequences and can make it more difficult for you to get to work or other locations if you are caught.



Driving in poor conditions

Make sure you’re prepared

​Snow, sleet, rain and fog are just some of the challenging conditions we can experience when driving in our province. Since weather is unpredictable, make sure you always plan ahead to make your trip safer and that your vehicle’s seasonally prepared — it’s just as important as slowing down and observing the posted traffic or road advisories.

Make your drive safer

If you can’t avoid driving in poor conditions, here are some tips to make your drive safer:

  • Posted speed limits are designed for ideal road conditions. Slow down when driving on snow, ice, slush or rain.
  • Allow yourself at least twice the normal braking distance on wet or slippery roads.
  • Avoid driving through flooded or washed out roads.
  • Use extreme caution when approaching highway maintenance equipment including plows, salt and sand trucks. Never pass on the right.
  • Low beams are more effective in fog or heavy snow.
  • Check tire pressure regularly. Pressure drops in colder conditions.
  • Keep the wiper fluid topped up for clearer visibility.
  • Keep your gas tank full to prevent gasoline from freezing in extreme temperatures.
  • Check roads and weather before your trip at toll-free 1-800-550-4997 or



When do I need winter tires?

Certain highways in B.C. require the use of winter tires at certain times of the year. Signs are posted on these designated highways to advise drivers where and when winter tires are required. Both the mountain snowflake and all-season mud and snow (M+S) tires meet the requirement of winter tires in B.C.

A performance-based standard (mutually agreed upon by the U.S. Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Rubber Association of Canada) specifically designates passenger and light truck winter tires that provide a higher level of traction in harsh winter conditions. Winter tires that meet these standards are identified by a three-peak mountain and snowflake symbol.

M+S tires are a safe option if you only encounter winter conditions on a limited basis and are prepared to drive with added care and caution. Whichever winter tires you choose, it’s important that they have a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm. When you’re buying tires, remember to tell your local tire retailer what kind of road and weather conditions you drive in, so you get tires that are best suited for your needs.

If you live or travel in an area where you would normally and regularly expect snow, ice and slush, we recommend using four matched winter tires that carry the mountain/snowflake winter tire symbol.

What if my car’s stuck in the snow?

Clear away the snow from around your tires to allow your wheels to roll more freely. If you have something to help your traction (such as traction mats, old carpets, salt, sand or kitty litter), put it right in front of your drive wheels. Gently rock your vehicle back and forth by shifting from forward to reverse, gradually increasing the distance with each rocking motion. Refer to the owner’s manual for more information.

How can I regain control if my vehicle skids due to black ice?

Skids can happen any time your tires lose grip on the road. If you drive over black ice and your vehicle starts to skid, ease off the accelerator, and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go. Don’t brake — this will make the situation worse! You may need to repeat this manoeuvre several times until you regain control.

Is cruise control okay in winter driving conditions?

Don’t use cruise control in wet or slippery conditions. An activated cruise control system will continue to apply power, keeping your wheels spinning. Snow, ice, slush and rain can cause wheel-spin and loss of control. The only way to stop it is to reduce power. By the time you turn off your cruise control, it may be too late for you to get control of your steering again.

How can I prevent hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning takes place when the tires lose contact with the road surface and float on a film of water, and you lose control of steering and braking. It can happen in rain or standing water. The higher your speed, the greater your chances of hydroplaning. Prevent hydroplaning by scanning ahead for large puddles and reducing your speed, especially during heavy rain. If hydroplaning happens, don’t brake — decelerate and drive straight.

Will my anti-lock braking system (ABS) help me stop quicker in poor weather?

While an anti-lock braking system (ABS) doesn’t allow you to drive faster or to stop sooner, it can help prevent wheels from locking up on wet and slippery surfaces. ABS also helps you maintain steering and avoid skidding while braking. In order for ABS to function properly, apply firm, hard, continuous pressure to the brake pedal until the vehicle stops. Don’t pump the brakes as this action turns the system on and off. It’s normal to
experience brake noise or shudder when ABS is in use.

What about electronic stability control (ESC)?

Electronic stability control (ESC) helps you keep control of your vehicle especially on slippery roads or in emergency situations, such as swerving to avoid an obstacle. But remember that ESC can’t override a vehicle’s physical limits. If a driver pushes the possibilities of the vehicle’s handling too far, ESC can’t prevent a crash. Like ABS, it’s a tool to help you maintain control.



Nobody is working in the construction zone. Do I still have to slow down?



How to Choose from 4 Types of Tires for Winter Driving in BC

There’s been a lot of tire talk lately, which is great. Winter is coming, and you obviously want to be prepared.
We want you to be prepared, too. So, we thought we’d go over the four types of tires you are permitted to use when driving high mountain passes and other signed BC highways requiring winter tires for passenger vehicles.



Survey: Canada’s the fifth-easiest country in the world to get a driver’s licence

According to an online driver’s-ed provider, Mexico’s the easiest, and Croatia’s the toughest


City launches trial of first ‘slow zone’ in Vancouver with lower speed limit

The City of Vancouver launched a trial of its first slow zone for local streets in East Vancouver today. 

A slow zone is a specifically designated area with slower speeds than other streets. The trial kicked off in the Grandview-Woodland area Wednesday (March 3) and will test an official speed-limit reduction on local streets from 50 km/h (the default speed in the city), explains a news release.

The first slow zone boundaries are Clark Drive, First Avenue, Commercial Drive and Grandview Highway North. Gateway signs, speed limit signs and paint markings will be posted to alert drivers the speed limit is 30 km/h on local streets.

Access and parking in the neighbourhood will not be affected.

Slow zone pilot in Vancouver 

The City launched the slow zone pilot in an effort to advance its “Moving Towards Zero” efforts to eliminate traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries.

Slower speeds dramatically improve safety for people walking and cycling. According to studies completed by the World Health Organization, higher speeds equal higher probability of fatality. For example, when a vehicle hits a pedestrian at 30 km/h the probability of fatality is 15 per cent. The probability of a fatality increases to 50 per cent when the speed is 50 km/h.

In the fall, staff will report to Council with data results and public feedback received through 311, VanConnect and the email. This pilot will provide information to design other slow zones in the City. 

Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood

In July 2020, Council approved the creation of the slow zone pilot within the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood. The area was identified by staff as the top-ranked neighbourhood based on:

  • Speeds
  • Collisions
  • Vulnerable populations (seniors/children/low income)
  • Community amenities

Walking is the top priority in the City’s Transportation 2040 Plan, and the City is working to improve the safety and comfort of our streets and sidewalks for all road users.

Recently, Former NPA Vancouver councillor, now-independent Rebecca Bligh came under fire for her comments that called for the City to increase the speed limits, rather than decrease them. In response to public outcry on social media, Bligh issued an apology and expanded on her thoughts in a blog post.


B.C. man takes electric bike ticket to province’s highest court and loses

A Motorino XMr is pictured in this image from Look closely and you can just see the pedals. Image Credit:

 A Vancouver man has lost his appeal at the province’s highest court after a panel of judges decided his electric bicycle was more of a vehicle than it was a bicycle so his conviction for driving without a licence was valid.

The majority of a three-judge panel at the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed Ali Moussa Ghadban claim that he should not have been charged with driving without a driver’s licence and with driving without insurance because he was riding a pedal-equipped electric scooter and therefore didn’t need a licence.

According to a Feb. 9, B.C. Court of Appeal decision, Ghadban argued his electric scooter known as a Motorino XMr, qualified as a motor-assisted cycle under the Motor Vehicle Act. Ghadban said he’d done extensive research before buying the scooter and was also told by ICBC that it didn’t offer insurance for his type of electric scooter.

However, two of the panel of three judges didn’t agree.

The Justices ruled that motor-assisted cycles must be designed to be “primarily human-powered” and as Ghadban’s Motorino XMr weighted 300 lbs. it was not designed to be operated primarily by human power.

Ghadban admitted he had never used the pedals.

According to the decision, Ghadban was convicted in B.C. Provincial Court for driving without a licence and without insurance after he was stopped by the RCMP while riding the scooter on a public road in Surrey with his young son in 2018. The RCMP officer asked for his driving licence and proof of insurance but as Ghadban doesn’t drive he doesn’t have a licence. He was then issued the tickets and later convicted in the B.C. Provincial Court.

He appealed his conviction in the B.C. Supreme but lost, and then took the issue to the Court of Appeal.

Much of the decision is given over to the legal definition of a “motor-assisted cycle” which are legal to drive without a licence or insurance in the province.

“The question, in this case, is whether… Ghadban was operating a motor vehicle as that term is defined in the Motor Vehicle Act, or was, instead, operating a motor-assisted cycle,” Justice Harvey Groberman says in the decision.

The decision then goes into length about whether the scooter can be “primarily propelled by human power” and whether the electric motor is a secondary source of power.

“As I see it, a device cannot be a motor-assisted cycle unless it is designed so that the motor is capable of being used to supplement human propulsion,” the decision says.

And the Justice found that it didn’t.

“The scooter is too heavy to be practical as a human-powered device. It is designed to be used as a motor-scooter, not a pedal-powered cycle,” he said.

The decision also mentions that the scooter looks like a motorcycle and reminds parties on both sides that the scooter’s looks have no relevance in the case.

“It is not that the scooter looks like a motorcycle, but rather that it functions as one,” the Justice said.

Ultimately, Ghadban loses the appeal and no doubt retires his wheels to his garage as ICBC won’t insure the Motorino XMr.



99 years ago, British Columbians started driving on the right-hand side of the road

Before traffic lights, police constables with white gloves and white batons directed traffic.

In this 1921 photograph, Constable Duncan C. McKinnon keeps order on the busy corner of Hastings and Granville Streets in front of the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

Order may have been a bit more challenging to keep several months later on January 1, 1922, as drivers of automobiles, street cars, and wagons had to adjust to driving on the right side of the road when the rule of the road changed at 6 a.m. that Sunday morning. Up until that point, drivers in B.C. drove British-style, as can be seen in this photograph.

The switch harkened both challenges and opportunities. Besides the obvious potential for serious accidents, the valuation of some property came into question. Property on corners where street cars stopped could generally command higher rental rates from businesses.

When street car stops had to be relocated to opposite sides of the road, some landlords were set to lose, and others benefit. There was also the question of how horses would behave, and a slightly tongue-in-cheek article ran in the December 29, 1921 Vancouver Daily World detailing a horse’s views of the change.

The main benefit, however, was bringing B.C.’s rule of the road in line with most other Canadian provinces, as well as the United States. This was important given that motoring trips taken by tourists were growing in popularity. Out-of-province visitors would no longer have to constantly remind themselves to “keep to the left”.



Keep Right, Let Others Pass


Effective June 2015, motorists are required to keep right and let others pass. This applies to B.C. highways with two or more lanes of traffic travelling in the same direction and a posted speed limit of 80 km/h or greater.

Driving in the left lane is not permitted unless a motorist is:

  • overtaking and passing another vehicle
  • moving left to allow traffic to merge
  • preparing for a left hand turn
  • passing a stopped official vehicle displaying red, blue or yellow flashing lights (for example, police cars, ambulances, tow trucks, maintenance or construction vehicles). Remember to Slow Down and Move Over.

Slower-moving vehicles reduce the efficiency of the highway system. This frustrates many motorists and can result in aggressive and erratic driving behaviour.

High Traffic Conditions

When the speed of traffic is 50 km/h or slower on a highway with a posted speed limit of 80 km/h or greater, a driver may remain in the left hand lane. However, when traffic speed rises above 50 km/h, the driver should move into the right hand lane.

Rules and Penalties

Signs and line markings direct traffic to keep right and let others pass. The Motor Vehicle Act – Part 3, sections 150 – Driver on Right and 151.1 – When Drivers Must Not Use Leftmost Lane specifically address the requirements. Drivers failing to keep right may receive a fine of $167 traffic violation ticket that also carries 3 penalty points. Offences and infractions that include penalty points can lead to a driving prohibition.



Be Truck Aware

Leave space. Be safe. Be truck aware.

Be Truck Aware is a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at raising awareness of the hazards of passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks not sharing the road safely – and how to reduce the risk of being involved in a crash with a large truck.


Slow Down, Move Over


In British Columbia, motorists are required to slow down and move over for all vehicles stopped alongside the road that have flashing red, blue or yellow lights. This includes maintenance workers, utility workers, police, fire, ambulance, tow trucks, Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement personnel, land surveyors, animal control workers, garbage collectors and other roadside workers.

Motorists must slow their speed to:

  • 70km/h when in an 80km/h or over zone
  • 40km/h when in an under 80km/h zone

If travelling on a multi-lane road, drivers must move into another lane to pass when passing stopped vehicles with a flashing light, where safe to do so. This provides roadside workers and emergency personnel with greater protection from accident and injury.

Rules and Penalties

Drivers failing to adjust their speed or failing to move over may receive a $173 traffic violation ticket that also carries 3 penalty points. Offences and infractions that include penalty points can lead to a driving prohibition.




Please note that the information below may only relate to Vancouver bylaws. Check with your local jurisdiction for similar or different by-law issues.

Q. Is it legal to use an electronic device while stopped in traffic or at a traffic signal?

A. No. Under section 214.2, a person must not use an electronic device while driving or operating a motor vehicle, which includes talking, texting and emailing. Drivers stopped in traffic or at a traffic light are still considered to be operating a motor vehicle and included in the definition of “driving.” Your first ticket will cost you $368.00 and four points, for a total of $543.00. Your second offence within 12 months will cost you $368.00 and eight points, for a total of $888.00. Subsequent tickets in the same year will continue to increase and could go as high as $24,000.

More information from ICBC

Q. Is it legal for a pedestrian to enter a crosswalk at an intersection when the pedestrian traffic signal is displaying a flashing raised hand? What if the hand signal is not flashing?

A. A pedestrian must not enter the roadway at an intersection when the pedestrian traffic signal is displaying the outline of a raised hand, or the words “Wait” or “Don’t Walk,” whether it is flashing or not.

Q. Who has the right of way in traffic circles?

A. You yield to traffic coming from your immediate left already in the roundabout before you enter.

Q. What is the speed limit in the city of Vancouver?

A. The speed limit in any municipality in B.C. is 50 km/h unless otherwise posted.

Q. Can you make a left hand turn at an intersection with a red light, from a two-way street onto a one-way street?

A. Yes, you are permitted to turn left from a two-way street onto a one-way street at an intersection when you are facing a RED traffic light; providing the intersection is clear of vehicles, cyclists and / or pedestrians and that you are intending on travelling in the direction of the one-way street and it is safe to do so. You have to come to a complete stop immediately before entering the intersection or entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of that intersection.

Q. Is it okay to change or alter my “L” or “N” sign?

A. No, if you have a restriction on your driver’s licence requiring you to display an official “L” or “N” sign, you are not permitted to alter that sign in any way. That means you may not cut it or trim it, and the entire sign must be in clear view, either in the back window or attached to the back of the vehicle you are operating.

Q. To what degree can my car windows be tinted?

A. Front window shields can not be tinted more than 75 mm below the top of window. Front side windows can not be tinted. Rear window shields may be tinted provided the vehicle has outside mirrors on both the driver’s and passenger’s side. Windows behind the driver may be tinted.

Q. What is the fine for driving without insurance?

A. The fine for driving without insurance is $598.

Q. What is the fine for driving with an obstructed license plate?

A. The fine for driving with an obstructed license plate is $230.

Q. What is considered a nuisance car alarm?

A. Car alarms may not sound longer than one (1) minute or more than 3 times in a 24-hour period. If it does, the vehicle can be towed and all costs will be incurred by the registered owner.

Q. Is it legal to leave my car running when I’m not in it?

A. It is illegal to leave your vehicle engine running or leave the keys in the ignition while you are not in the vehicle. This includes parking lots or any lot where the public has access.



Vancouverites called 911 during power outage to ask how 4-way stops work

While the lights were out for thousands of people during Wednesday morning’s power outage in Vancouver, it appears others were in the dark when it came to what should be relatively simple procedures during the ordeal.

On Twitter, E-Comm said that during the outage, dispatchers experienced a “surge” in calls about everything from information on the outage to those trying to navigate four-way stops without the help of traffic lights.

For reference, DriveSmart BC states that when it comes to four-way stop situations, “it is meant to be first to stop, first to go.”

If two vehicles arrive at the same time, “you yield to the vehicle on your right.”

If two vehicles facing each other stop at the same time “the rule for the same situation in the two-way stop applies.”

Finally, “if there is any doubt who has the right of way or if there is the chance of a crash, it is better to yield the right of way to the other driver, even if you don’t have to.”

And as for the higher call volume on Wednesday morning, E-Comm reminded people to “keep 911 lines free for emergencies only.”

BC Hydro announced the outage shortly after 9:30 am, saying that 50,000 customers were affected, and the outage spanned north of King Edward Avenue, south of 6th Avenue, west of Cambie Street, and East of Arbutus Street.

They added the cause was likely a “transmission circuit failure.”

Shortly after 10 am, BC Hydro announced that crews restored power to customers affected by the outage.




The act of dooring is when a driver or passenger opens a car door unsafely into the path of oncoming traffic, resulting in a collision or swerving. Dooring can lead to serious injuries or even death, particularly for cyclists.

To help reduce dooring collisions and keep all road users safe, the B.C. government has significantly increased the fine for dooring.


Effective September 21, 2020 anyone opening the door of a parked car when it is not safe will face a fine of $368.

Behaviour Changes

There are simple behaviour changes that can reduce the risk of dooring.

Drivers and passengers should open their door with the far hand by reaching across their body. This forces them to swivel and look in the rear-view mirror, out to the side, and then over their shoulder to see any oncoming traffic. 

Cyclists and other active transportation users should stay at least one metre away from parked cars to avoid collisions. It is useful to remember the saying, “door and a bit more.”



Lorraine Complains: Turn on your car’s lights — yes, all of them

Automakers and governments have been slacking off for years on this issue, but if we all agree to follow some simple guidelines, we can fix it ourselves


The fabulous Willie Nelson gives this advice for living your best life: 

  1. Don’t be an a-hole;
  2. Don’t be an a-hole;
  3. Don’t be a goddamned a-hole.

The less-fabulous Lorraine Sommerfeld would like to add to that:

  1. Put on your lights;
  2. Put on your lights;
  3. Put on your goddamned lights.

Throughout my years rambling through this industry, this is the second biggest pet peeve that drivers bring to me. People who plug along in the passing lane are the first. I believe the unlighted steeds on our roadways are a bigger threat.


It’s more noticeable as the days get shorter and the season gets rainier. Well, it’s less noticeable. Most of you reading this are aware, but let’s pull apart the equation.

Daytime running lights (DRLs) were made mandatory on new cars in Canada as of December 1, 1989. When you start your car, smaller secondary lights – DRLs – come on in the front, and your dashboard is lit up. Study after study shows safety advantages and marked collision reductions when cars have these added lights.

Some argue the largest advantage is in countries in the northern hemisphere — like Canada. Some hate them and disconnect them via an aftermarket workaround. (Some provinces, like Alberta, state that if your car has them, you have to keep them maintained. Before you go yanking them out, check the law.)

The problem with DRLs and the error made when they were ushered into law is the rear lights on many vehicles (Honda and Toyota are big culprits, here) are not tied to the front lights nor the dash. Because studies showed that additional illumination on the front was an advantage, but not the rear, too many manufacturers tossed them on the front only. Wouldn’t be a problem, but the ensuing dog’s breakfast of confusion surrounding lighting systems has resulted in some very dangerous driving conditions.

Back in olden times, if you didn’t have your lights on, your dash was dark. It was an instant reminder that you hadn’t put your headlights on. An always-backlit dash removes that reminder. Many drivers are driving on highly lit roadways and those little DRLs are just enough to allow them to forget they don’t have their proper lights on. Drive down a dark rural road and you’ll know in a heartbeat your lights aren’t on.

Most cars have a setting on their lighting system that says “Auto.” This means when dusk or rain sets in, the car will automatically engage its full lighting harness, which includes the rear lights. If your car is not set in Auto, you are driving with only your DRLs on. Your rear may be black.

Of course, it makes no sense. Of course, it’s been a problem since its inception. It will finally be addressed in September 2021, when all cars made or sold in Canada will be required to have the front and rear harnesses connected. This means only another ten or fifteen years until most cars will be properly lit. Sigh.

I would love to post a full list of cars that have this problem. I started one a decade ago, then realized how futile it was to try. Some brands (Mercedes-Benz and Porsche spring to mind) have their lighting systems done properly across their lineup. But for everyone else? It’s hit and miss.

Various makes, some models within those makes, some years of those models — there is no consistency unless a manufacturer has established the very wise rule that everything they put out will have their DRLs tied to both the front and rear lights.

The law and the manufacturers are late to the table—we can fix this ourselves

“Why don’t they ticket them?” yell many, including myself. According to Sergeant Jason Kraft with Toronto Police Services, in Ontario, they can, and do. “The HTA states ‘every motor vehicle other than a motorcycle shall carry three lighted lamps in a conspicuous position, one on each side of the front of the vehicle which shall display a white or amber light only, and one on the rear of the vehicle which shall display a red light only,’” he explains.Most people don’t intentionally forget to put on their headlights. In a perfect world, drivers would automatically put on their full lighting system whenever they drive, day or night. It’s a good habit. When you get out of your car, it will do one of two things: squawk at you to turn the lights off, or shut them down itself. This is the best format; you can just leave your car lights turned on all the time and forget about it. “Auto” is OK; full system is better.

“By driving with daytime running lights only [one-half hour before sunset until one-half hour after sunrise], your rear red lights are not activated at all, thus the charge of ‘Drive without proper rear light’ HTA62(1) would be laid,” he says, adding most people are unaware they’ve failed to pull on their full system. So an officer might tell them so, the driver puts it on, and they’re on their way.

There is an additional charge for only having your DRLs on; the front bulbs are not strong enough to meet the law requiring your vehicle to be seen from 110 metres away. You might get a warning, but you’re risking two $110 fines.

Best practices? Pull on your full lighting harness every time you drive. If you set your system to “Auto,” double-check it periodically, and each time someone else has driven your car, whether they be family, mechanic, valet, or detailer. In a rental, check.

Instead of saying people who mess up are too stupid to drive, talk to everyone you care about and make sure they’re aware of this. New drivers, or those who seldom drive, can use some direction, not snark.

The law and the manufacturers are late to the table. We can fix this ourselves. And, no, I know of no signal to let people know only their DRLs are on. Come up with one, and I’ll publish it.



These are the Safest—and Most Dangerous—Days to Drive in Canada

A recent Allstate Canada Safe Driving Study sheds some fascinating light on the driving habits of Canadians—including the most dangerous day of the week to drive. For 10 years running, the survey—which involved an in-depth analysis of Allstate Canada’s collision claims from 2008 to 2018—found that there were more collisions reported on Fridays than any other day of the week. Conversely, the safest day of the week to drive tends to be Sunday.

The single most dangerous days to drive in the entire calendar year, however, are the days leading up to Christmas, with Ontarians making the most collision claims on December 21, and Alberta and New Brunswick following suit on December 23. (Don’t miss these essential tips for a safe winter road trip.)

Across the board, Christmas Day itself is the safest day to be on the road, with the least number of collisions reported.

The study also revealed the following, based on claims reported in the last decade:

The safest community to drive in Canada: Hanmer, Ontario
The most dangerous community to drive in Canada: North York, Ontario
The community with the greatest increase in claims over 10 years: TIE — Kitchener, Ontario, and Brantford, Ontario (both +67%)
The community with the greatest decrease in claims over 10 years: Spruce Grove, Alberta (-27%)
The top five types of collision reported across Canada in 2018:
1. Rear ended (Here’s why you should never follow a friend while driving.)
2. Turning & intersections
3. Parked vehicle
4. Lane change
5. Stationary object or ditch

Next, check out the most bizarre car insurance claims ever filed!



British Columbians divulge worst driving habits in survey looks into dangerous and reckless driving habits across the country

While a new report has found that a majority of Canadians are prone to some bad behaviour behind the wheel, it’s British Columbians and Albertans that are most likely to speed.

On Wednesday (Sept. 30), released results from its latest survey looking at dangerous driving, which revealed that 19 million, or 63 per cent, of Canadians admit to engaging in reckless driving behaviour at one point or another.

According to responses from 1,027 drivers across the country, eating tops the list of dangerous driving habits with 49 per cent admitting to snacking behind the wheel.

Other common offenses include speeding (33 per cent), forgetting to signal (21 per cent), and driving while sleepy (21 per cent).

Broken down by province, Alberta drivers are the speediest behind the wheel, followed by British Columbians.

BC drivers’ top three reckless driving habits are eating (47 per cent), speeding (39 per cent) and failing to signal (24 per cent).

Scott Birke, publisher for, said it’s shocking to see just how many drivers are putting their lives at risk.

“It only takes a split second to make a serious life changing mistake, yet a huge number of Canadians are snacking and speeding behind the wheel,” he said.

“Whether you’re replying to a text message, or reaching into the backseat, taking your eyes off the road for a second can be the difference between life and death.”

Male drivers are more likely than female drivers to engage in risky driving behaviour, or 76 per cent compared to 71 per cent, with men significantly more likely to speed and drive with their knees.

Eight-one per cent of millennials admit to dangerous driving – the most of any age group. Millennial drivers are more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, run a red light, or reach back to deal with a child than other demographics.

Birke said drivers face having insurance claims rejected if they are deemed to have been driving recklessly or having their premiums increased for at-fault accidents.

“You also put the lives of others at risk– not to mention your own. When it comes to driving, you’re better off safe than sorry.”


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