Top Seven Tips for Driving in the Suburbs
There are many places you are going to end up driving throughout the years, and if you live in the suburbs, it may seem like you have to follow an entirely different set of driving rules (they are pretty much the same, but everything just seems different). For one thing, the speed limits are likely to be a lot lower than they are on city streets and highways. After all, when you are in the suburbs, it is not uncommon to see little kids in Ontario out in the middle of the road playing street hockey, a game that is popular with kids and adults all across Canada.
If you are living in the suburbs, chances are you are going to be doing a lot of driving in residential areas. Here are some safety tips for you to follow so that you and everyone around you will be able to enjoy the streets safely:
How to Survive in the Suburbs
Keep it slow
You are never in so much of a hurry that you have to drive dangerously, and speeding on suburban streets is really driving dangerously. Be vigilant in obeying the posted speed limits; you might even want to drive a few kilometres per hour lower just to be on the safe side. There are all kinds of things that can happen, even in quiet suburbs, and if you are driving within the speed limit, you will be better able to handle any situations that may arise so you don’t get into any accidents.
Watch for children
Families live in the suburbs, and there are always going to be children of all ages around, and younger ones may not always be under supervision. As noted above, you will probably find all kinds of kids playing road hockey, and there will be nets in the middle of the road. Keep it slow, and honk your horn as you get close, and you will hear that familiar cry of “Car” and the kids will grab their nets and move out of the way. Be on the watch for kids playing ball, just in case one chases a ball out into the street. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for dogs and cats too, because it can be pretty easy to run over someone’s precious pet without meaning to because it has run in front of your car.
Obey parking signs
Many streets in the suburbs have very strict parking laws. You may only be able to park on one side of the street, or you may not be able to use the street at all. It is probably best if you have a driveway to always use it, and if you are having guests, make room for their vehicles in your driveway, or arrange for them to have transportation so they don’t have to worry about parking. If you are in a complex where the parking is marked, do not park in a spot that is not reserved for you, or you could come out to find your car gone because it has been towed away, and you will have to pay the towing and impound fees.
Watch out for school zones
If you are driving in an area of the suburbs where there is an elementary or primary school, you are going to find that the speed limit is greatly reduced during certain hours, usually an hour before school goes in, lunch hour, and the hour after school. Fines are usually doubled if you go over the posted speed limit during school hours. These are the times when there are kids all over the place, on their way to and from school, not to mention school buses pulling in and out of the parking lot.
Following school buses
The laws are very strict when it comes to following behind a school bus, and this is going to happen often when you are driving in the suburbs. Keep your distance if you are behind a school bus, and only pass if you are on a road that has a passing zone. If the school bus has put on the flashing yellow lights, this means that it is about to make a stop, either to pick up or drop off a student. You need to slow down, and do not even think about passing, especially once those lights start flashing red. Most newer buses also are equipped with a stop sign that sticks out from the side of the bus. Wait until the lights have stopped flashing before you start driving again.
There are a lot more cross walks in the suburbs, and many people tend to be a lot slower at these crosswalks than they are on city crosswalks where everyone is in a hurry. If you are approaching a crosswalk, look to see if there is anyone trying to cross the street. Remember, the pedestrian who is at a crosswalk always has the right of way before someone who is driving. Slow down and come to a stop, and wait until they have reached the other side of the road before you drive away.
Gasoline is expensive, and if you and your neighbours are all commuting to work from the suburbs five days a week, it can add up to a lot of money. Consider setting up a carpool, with each person being in charge of driving on a particular day. You can all chip in on the gas, and not only will you be saving money, you will also be saving wear and tear on your vehicles. When you are driving, make sure that you are following all of the proper rules of the roads, to keep your passengers safe, and to show those who may not be as responsible how they should be driving. It may just rub off on them.
Living in the suburbs is the dream of many.
They are slower paced and quieter than the cities, and they are wonderful places to raise children. If you are a suburb dweller, remember to drive safely and watch for children, senior citizens and everyone else using the roads. Be considerate of everyone around you, and obey all of the traffic rules, and you will have no issues when it comes to driving in the suburbs.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Find-a-driving-school.ca. He has been writing for beginner Canadian drivers for several years.
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