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Toronto Drivers August 6, 2009

Posted by huymix in Random.
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Highwayfminus401 sign

Toronto is a big city and its hard to say that my experiences driving in this city are solely from Torontonians. However, some of my worst driving experiences have occurred due to Torontonians. I can’t really say how Toronto drivers stack up against other cities or anything objective like that. If you’re reading this post, you should know that almost everything written is 100% subjective anyways. Given the above caveats, Toronto drivers are an F- because:

  • Angry when they are breaking the law. One of the worst behaviours I’ve observed drivers here do is flip off a driver when they try something illegal and it is either blocked off or something. An example, on the 401, a driver tried to pass using the shoulder and had to come back because of a pillar. That same driver chose to cut off the another driver on the right and get all upset. I’m sorry, but I was going the same speed as the guy just in front of me and I will not be bullied.
  • Cannot handle different driving conditions.  You would think growing up Canadian you would be able to handle different weather conditions. Unfortunately, even light rain grinds traffic to a halt. Obviously, you should slow down, but really, light rain should not send traffic to a full stop and turn 10 minutes of driving into 45.
  • Toronto drivers get worse the easier the roads are set up. Here’s what I mean. There is a stretch of the 401 from Keele to Jane that has the worst record of the entire 401 highway (its a very long highway too). This part of the 401 is not at all twisty or narrow but rather straight and wide. The problem is, Toronto drivers are like kids in a candy shop when they get straighaways and cannot control their enthusiasm and drive even worse.

I’ve always heard of how bad LA or NY traffic is and I have no doubts that traffic there is a huge pain, probably ” F-able”. But if you find yourself in Toronto please do yourself a favour and take the train or get someone else to drive. Driving in Toronto is only an exercise of your patience.

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Roundabouts July 20, 2009

Posted by huymix in Random.
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Arc de TriomphefplusRoundabout diagram

Personally, the major change higher gas prices forced on me was to evaluate my driving habits. So after some internet perusing on techniques to stretch out the kilometers per litre, I found that a lot of energy was wasted braking for stop signs and red lights. Having recently returned from England and France, the extensive use of roundabouts was a revelation in terms of road design. I wouldn’t say Canada should have roundabouts only because average North American driving skill level is not good enough. I’m a fan of roundabouts because:

  • They allow for what would be considered a rolling stop but with the safety a regular stop. This is a key feature for gas efficiency since all you have to do is slow down to make the turn safely instead of coming to a complete stop.
  • They prevent people from just barreling through the intersection. If somebody runs a stop sign, they can kill people making a turn, with a roundabout, a physical barrier prevents them from charging through at full speed like that.
  • It’s more simple to use. At all times you are limited to turning right and this lack of options should make driving easier since the simplicity does not reduce the options of driving. With a roundabout you can still get to where you need to go.

Traffic deals a lot with the idea of flow. The less disruptions, the smoother the flow of traffic. Using roundabouts would be a good way to maintain, and in some ways improve safety, as well as improve traffic flow. The main flaw with roundabouts in Canada is the driver. I do not trust that Canadian drivers have the skill, in general, to deal with roundabouts. If you find yourself in a country with roundabouts, try to take some time to get a feeling for your movement and the smoothness of the driving. I’m sure afterwards you’ll wish we had more roundabouts in Canada.