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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 1:17 AM
middeljohn middeljohn is online now
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Driving Habits Across Canada

Since moving to Edmonton I've been kinda shocked at how courteous drivers are here. Very rarely do I get someone tailgating me. And even less often do I hear someone actually use their car horn. Generally when I want to get into another lane one of the first three cars gives me a turn (even when I obviously cheated to get past a whole bunch). Only thing here that annoys me is how seemingly 90% of the drivers drive below the posted speed limit. I've broken the habit of going 10-20 over like I did in Ontario, but I can't for the life of me understand how so many people will drive 80 on the Henday (100km/hr posted).

That said, in the GTA pretty much everything I just said is the opposite. If you don't turn within 2 seconds of the left turn light someone's honking at you. Typically takes 5 cars, sometimes more for someone to give you a turn to make a lane change. People generally drive 10-20 over, oftentimes more (only way to by get a ticket is from a cop). The far left lane generally goes the same speed as the far right lane (this one still confuses me)

These differences are mainly symptoms of congestion; Toronto is extremely congested, Edmonton is almost always free-flowing, so people are a little bit more relaxed.

Curious about other cities.
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 1:39 AM
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I've heard many times Québec drivers are the worst.
Here, it doesn't take 10 seconds before you get someone in your ass.
It may be easy to argue that the reason is because we're French ( I've seen this comment many times ) ... but I don't believe it.

I've been to Nova-Scotia last summer and it was like another world. Soooo courteous.
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 2:13 AM
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Metro Vancouver must be the area with most Ferrari, Aston Martin, etc. crashes in all of Canada. You really have to look out for those in here...
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 2:22 AM
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Kingston is a fairly easy city to drive in, and drivers are generally courteous to other drivers. In some areas drivers do go excessively slow, and yet on some streets drivers go 20 km/h over the limit.

However, for its size Kingston has a surprisingly large red light running problem. I also find drivers here are not very courteous to pedestrians. They turn at intersections without even looking, and just last week I was almost hit by one that drove onto the sidewalk.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 2:37 AM
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There's currently an epidemic of car/pedestrian MVA's in Halifax. It seems like there's 2-3 per day. It's been all over the news the whole year (yes, we get lots and lots of Halifax news on TV here in NB).
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  #6  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 2:58 AM
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GTA drivers are aggressive. Because the roads are always so busy, there is seemingly always a fight for space on the highway.

If I come back from up north, or somewhere else away from the city, I am always startled by tailgaters as soon as I get back in range of the city.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 3:15 AM
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t's a mixed bag here. Two main points:

1. Drivers are courteous, if you're not an idiot. Put your blinker on to change lanes, you will get in within a car or two passing by. But change lanes without signaling, you'll get honked at and tailgated.

2. We generally only paint lines on the street within a half dozen or so metres of an intersection, and even those fade quickly. So if you pull up to an intersection, JUST ***ING ASSUME THERE IS A LEFT-TURN LANE. Because we treat almost all of them as if there is. There's no faster way to tell a tourist than you stopped at a light in the middle of a lane that is as wide as two cars. Pull over as far to the left as you can without blocking opposing traffic. This is just the main one of the quirks that develop in an old city with a nonsensical street grid and roads that were designed to be driven on the left.

This is true of wide streets:



And narrow ones (notice the faded turning lane - USE IT!)





Another is parking. Striped medians, grassy medians, etc. You can park on them all. But don't block fire lanes. Fires are a big fucking deal here. The smallest blaze is reported like a car chase in L.A. because our entire city can burn to the ground pretty quick, and has at least four times. DO NOT BLOCK THE FIRE LANES. It's like lighting up a smoke in a lung cancer ward. You will be lynched.

This is parking in St. John's, and I only filmed a few minutes on a Sunday. It's worse at basically any other time:

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Excluding rush hour, traffic usually flows 10-30km over the speed limit, depending on the road. Generally, people keep accelerating as fast as they can go. If the distance between one light and next is long enough to get up to 70-80 in a 50-60 zone, do it. Flow with the traffic. Don't be that one idiot who goes the speed limit and everyone has to zip around.
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Dec 16, 2014 at 3:40 AM.
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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 3:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonysnob View Post
GTA drivers are aggressive. Because the roads are always so busy, there is seemingly always a fight for space on the highway.

If I come back from up north, or somewhere else away from the city, I am always startled by tailgaters as soon as I get back in range of the city.
Signalling an intended lane change is seen as a threat to impede your progress on traffic-clogged roads in Toronto. Cars in the adjacent lane will speed up to close the gap if they see anyone signalling. That's why you see a lot of sudden lane changes without signalling. Which feels brutish and harsh when you're travelling into the GTA from elsewhere.

Otherwise, though, traffic in southern Ontario generally moves at 30 km/h above the speed limit: 110 km/h on two-lane highways where the limit is 80 km/h, and 130 km/h on the 400 series highways where the limit is 100 km/h.

I've personally never experienced more courteous drivers than in Saskatchewan, where the difference from even neighbouring Manitoba was palpable. They veer onto the paved shoulder to allow you to pass if you come up behind them at a faster speed. It's really quite something. Of course, we're talking the Trans-Canada between Winnipeg and Regina, where you can drive for minutes at a time without seeing another car, so it's not exactly crowded!
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 4:07 AM
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Richmond and Vancouver are horrible and the Chinese drivers are in a league of their own.

One thing out here is that people drive painfully slow. Some of I guess can be blamed on having few freeways and the ones they have are thin but even still. Even when traffic is moving well people still drive incredibly slow. They wouldn't know what to do with themselves in Ontario or Quebec.

When traffic is heavy but still moving they drive MUCH slower than Easterners. Back east even when you are right up someone's ass you can still be driving fast but not in BC where people slow right down.

I actually find that Western Canadians in general drive much, much slower than Ontarians or Quebecers even though speed limits on freeways are higher in the West.
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  #10  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 4:18 AM
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Ottawa drivers sometimes don't seem to realise that intersections aren't normal road. Especially downtown. So many times where there's a bunch of cars sitting in the middle of one with a red light so the street with a green light can't move.

Hamilton drivers seem to love their green waves.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 4:22 AM
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I really should add a caveat to wait I said about Ontario drivers. It's all true with the notable exception of Londoners where even reaching the speed limit is nearly miraculous due to the city's horrific traffic. Trying to negotiate London's roads and traffic is like Chinese Water Torture.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 4:27 AM
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Winnipeg is known for fairly aggressive driving. It is always mind blowing to cross the border into the US where people are generally pretty courteous... in smaller cities, it's just the way they are, and in bigger cities it's a necessity because if people in places like Minneapolis and Chicago drove the way they do here there would be road carnage on an unprecedented scale. So they let you in when you signal or merge and all those good things.

Funny thing about Manitoba is that there are no true freeways so there is not a strong culture of using the left lane only to pass... quite often people will putter along in the passing lane on a divided highway in anticipation of their left turn 10 km ahead. This means that when you're driving in neighbourhing states with limited-access highways, whenever you see a car going slow in the left lane, 9 times out of 10 it's a Canadian and probably someone with Manitoba plates.
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  #13  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 4:38 AM
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Winnipeggers also actively try to prevent people from merging. If you signal an intent to change lanes, the cars in whatever lane you want to get into will close ranks.

I gave up. I would literally STOP, completely. And wait for someone to slow down and let me in. Cars honking, whatever, don't give a fuck. Shame them into letting me in. Give it up.

And don't get the wrong idea. It's not like I was stopped in an empty lane and about to be rear-ended by someone doing 80. All traffic was moving along at whatever pace, say 30-40. Everyone was already at my bumper and matching my speed.

One thing they're good at, though, is left turns.

You watch a left-turn light in suburban St. John's and there could be a city block between two cars, then four that are basically on top of each other, then one 10 car lengths away, etc.

Winnipeg, none of that shit. Light turns on, people go, generally keeping about one car length in between.

*****

A couple of other local quirks:

1. Alberta trucks. That's the term for any obnoxiously big truck. Even if it has Avalon Ford stickers instead of Edmonton whatever. And these little twunks driving them don't know how to drive standard so they basically come to a complete stop three times after the light turns green. SO effing annoying.

2. Jaywalkings/Instant Gratification Folks. People will walk out anywhere, anytime, without looking in the Downtown. Pedestrians simply have right of way - and most drivers accept that. BUT in the suburbs, you get this crap where it could be a lighted crosswalk on a street with a 70 km/hr posted limit, so traffic flowing at 90-100 km/hr, and they will push the button to get the crosswalk to light up and INSTANTLY START CROSSING, without breaking stride. So you can't watch the lights, you have to watch the sidewalk to see if anyone is approaching. The city introduced timers to try to ween people out of this bad habit, but it hasn't worked. They still just go. Most people just honk if they see someone approaching the button as they're close to driving past.
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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Dec 16, 2014 at 4:48 AM.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 5:01 AM
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I'm typing this from Suburban LA, and one of the things that surprises me when I come to California is how laid back their drivers are. I mean the roads are busy, and there is congestion and everything, but the driving seems much more mild mannered than it does in Toronto even. Must be the whole west coast thing.

Sometimes when I am in some of the more provincial destinations of Ontario, I have to remind myself that I am no longer in Toronto and should be driving like less of a dick.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 5:07 AM
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There are no rules on Montreal roads.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 5:08 AM
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  #17  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 5:26 AM
middeljohn middeljohn is online now
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While I've let go of certain Toronto driver habits, I find that other habits help me zip through the city much faster than anyone else. It's hilarious how often there'll he like ten cars in the right lane at a red light and the left lane has two cars - or sometimes none. So I'll quickly scoot over into the left lane, and once the light turns green press the gas and get past everyone.

Here's an example of how courteous some Edmonton drivers are, and it actually happened today right after I posted this thread. I was in the right lane and needed to get into the left lane to make a left turn 100m ahead. There was a car just behind me in the left lane, so I turn on my signal and hit the brakes slightly so that he can pass me so I can make the turn. So instead of just continuing at his speed, he slows down as well so that I can get in front of him. I slowed down even more, but he kept slowing down as well. I ended up getting pissed off and in rebellion decided screw it and instead of turning left accelerated to the next light and turned around there.

This has happened on multiple occasions.

Another thing that has happened too many times is that I'll be at a green waiting to turn left, and some car going straight, who has right of way obviously will actually come to a stop at the green light and signal for me to go ahead! I never take that opportunity because if I somehow end up getting rammed in that aituation I'm still at fault in the eyes of the law.

Moral of the story, if you have the right of way just fucking go. There's being courteous and then there's being a dumbass.
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Last edited by middeljohn; Dec 16, 2014 at 6:33 AM.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 5:42 AM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
...whenever you see a car going slow in the left lane, 9 times out of 10 it's a Canadian and probably someone with Manitoba plates.
Well, hold on, no...Ontario drivers are religious about getting out of the passing lane, while Americans in neighbouring states like New York and Michigan will tootle along in the passing lane at 90 km/h.

I've actually had to remind myself not to get too uptight on New York highways, as the locals don't take kindly to Ontario drivers insisting that slow drivers get out of the passing lane.

Once, on the 401 somewhere around Kingston, where it's just two lanes, I honked at and tailgated an American doing 90 km/h in the passing lane for about ten minutes. It was unbelievable. I had a km-long dragon's tail of other irritated drivers behind me wanting to speed the fuck up.

She finally sped up and got over, and then gave me a death stare as I passed. She thought I was crazy and dangerous. I thought she was crazy and dangerous. And stupid.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 5:47 AM
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Originally Posted by middeljohn View Post
Another thing that has happened too many times is that I'll be at a green waiting to turn left, and some car going straight, who has right of way obviously will actually come to a stop at the green light and signal for me to go ahead!
That will never happen in Ontario. Never. Sounds bizarre to me.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2014, 6:32 AM
middeljohn middeljohn is online now
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Well, hold on, no...Ontario drivers are religious about getting out of the passing lane, while Americans in neighbouring states like New York and Michigan will tootle along in the passing lane at 90 km/h.

I've actually had to remind myself not to get too uptight on New York highways, as the locals don't take kindly to Ontario drivers insisting that slow drivers get out of the passing lane.

Once, on the 401 somewhere around Kingston, where it's just two lanes, I honked at and tailgated an American doing 90 km/h in the passing lane for about ten minutes. It was unbelievable. I had a km-long dragon's tail of other irritated drivers behind me wanting to speed the fuck up.

She finally sped up and got over, and then gave me a death stare as I passed. She thought I was crazy and dangerous. I thought she was crazy and dangerous. And stupid.
That's pretty much how people drive on the highways here. The "fast lane" is a foreign concept it seems. Apparently Calgary's drivers are more aggressive but I haven't really driven there, so I can't say for certain.
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