Successful “N” Driver

Hi Neil,

I passed! It felt a little rusty at the beginning. My parking didn’t go as well as I’d liked, as I’m still working on getting the 45 degree angle for parallel parking with my van, and the right pivot point for reverse stall parking. But other than that, it went well!

I was thinking about your key points the entire time (planning and observation) and will definitely continue to do so.

Thanks so much! I learned a lot!

— Valerie, 18 years old, received New (N) Driver license


What do Learning Styles have to do with Driving Lessons

I have been asked many times about how the different ways people learn or their learning styles affect their experiences while driver training. It’s a good question. We know people learn in different ways and it’s essential that driving lessons adapt to what the learner needs.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of several instruments that can help figure out a person’s learning style and therefore is useful in adapting driving lessons to better meet their needs.  MBTI breaks down a person’s learning style into 4 groups or indicators including 1. Extrovert or Introvert, 2. Sensing or Intuition, 3. Thinking or Feeling, and 4. Judging or Perceiving. When a MBTI test is given it provides an understanding, to the driver instructor, of how an individual’s communication styles and personality traits impact how they learn.

For example a person may want to have the information presented to them in a step by step manner because they prefer to learn in a systematic, logical and concrete way. Another person may prefer to first figure out where driving fits into their world because they love to play with ideas and often look at them in abstract ways. Another person may like to have information and experiences combined in a series of lessons.

Some students like to talk about ideas while they are learning. One thing that often works for them is discussing while they drive.  I know people on their road tests who when they were on their road talked through what they were doing as they drove. Others like to have the information beforehand so they have an opportunity to process it and make a plan ahead of time.

With MBTI you can see how different learning styles effect how you can best learn to drive. As a driver instructor, if I know what your learning and communication styles are, I can ensure your driving lessons are adapted to fit what you need.

Mira - What a plrasuee to find someone who thinks through the issues


How do you pick a good driving school?

How do you pick a good driving school?

I was asked today, “How do you pick a good driving school? An excellent question. Let me start by saying I own a driving school and every driving school is going to say pick me, but I think there are some points you should consider before you commit to a driving school:

1.       Instructor Qualifications

2.       Student Centered Approaches

3.       Quality and scope of Instruction

1 — Find out the qualifications of your instructor. For you the driving instructor is really the most important part of the driving school. No matter how long a school has been in business, the most important thing for you is the instructor. As with any profession, driving instructors come in all shapes and sizes, some are will be a good fit for you while others won’t be. You need to know what their experience is.  A large school may have many new instructors coming and going. Some instructors have worked for ICBC and have an intimate knowledge of the road test because they will have taken an additional three week course as examiners. You might ask if your instructor has ever taught other driving instructors. Teaching other driving instructor is a much more challenging and in depth process, proving additional benefits to students.

2 — Does the instructor adapt the lessons to meet your needs?  This is called a student centered approach and incorporates your learning styles into your lessons. Everyone has a different way of learning and your instructor needs to  understand how that impacts the way you want information presented. If you are not sure what your learning style is, a good instructor will help you figure it out. There are a number of  good assessment tools  that can be used to help with this and a knowledgeable instructor would be able to use them to determine how you learn best.

3 — Do you have a choice about when you book your driving lessons? If you are taking a GLP course, having instruction throughout the year is the best way to learn as there are variable driving conditions that you need to feel comfortable with and confident driving in. Many students are reluctant at first about driving in what can be adverse conditions. A good instructor will help you learn the skills over time to be a good driver no matter what the weather or road conditions are. That’s why it is important that your lessons happen over a period of time such that you experience a variety of driving conditions. Make sure your driving lessons cover more than just the test route. The curriculum must also include freeway and night driving, residential areas versus busy streets and identifying hazards, just to name a few areas.

A driving school must provide you with a competent instructor who appreciates learning styles, reasonable booking times and a curriculum that covers as much about driving as you could possibly need to be a skilled, confident, safe and considerate driver. Learning how to drive is fun and enjoyable. You should expect more than a minimum standard from any driving school. Learning to drive well and safely is a skill you acquire through good instruction and experience. It is one thing you cannot afford to skimp on.


Roundabouts, Traffic circles & Traffic Calming Circles

what is the difference?

Recently, drivers in North America have been challenged with a relatively uncommon traffic pattern; a roundabout, traffic circle or traffic-calming circle. And they aren’t the same thing. If a driving instructor only prepares you for the road test, you won’t have a good understanding of the difference between the three circles and how to approach them. Roundabouts, traffic circles and traffic calming circles are becoming more common in the Lower Mainland as safer, more cost efficient option that improves the flow of traffic.

A traffic-calming circle is essentially an intersection with a flowerpot in the middle. These circles are created in order to slow traffic in a residential area, and it works. The structure of the intersection does not changed. Signalling is still the same: if you want to go right signal right; if you want to go left signal left, and if you want to go straight, don’t use a signal. Essentially the intersection has not changed but only has a flowerpot in the centre to slow traffic.

A traffic circle is where the circle is a road itself. You are permitted to drive continuously for hours in the circle. And though you won’t really get anywhere, you are permitted to drive in the circle for a long as you want. When I was driving in England recently, my cousin suggested driving continuously in the circle until I could figure out which exit to take.

The motor vehicle act in B.C. defines an intersection as anywhere where two roads meet. A traffic circle can have many exits, which by definition could be seen as separate intersections. You are only able to make a right turn out of a traffic circle, so a right signal is all that is required. Traffic in the circle has the right of way because they are on a road, therefore, you must yield to the traffic in the circle.

I personally signal to the left while I am in the traffic circle as this communicates to those drivers who are approaching the traffic circle that my intention is to stay in the circle, causing them to yield to traffic within the circle. This is not necessary, but helps communicate my intention.

A roundabout is a multiple-lane traffic circle with rules very similar to the traffic circle. In the Lower Mainland, these are usually required because of heavier traffic. The key to handling a roundabout is to know where you are going before you get to the traffic circle. For example, if you approach a roundabout in the left lane but actually need to exit to the right while in the roundabout, you won’t be able to take your exit. You would need to approach the roundabout already in the right-hand lane in preparation for exiting.

The Government of BC’s website has an excellent description of how a driver would deal with an emergency vehicle when in a roundabout. Click here to view.

Marlien - You’re on top of the game. Thanks for shnairg.


Roundabouts – why?

Roundabouts can seem like an evil plot to confuse and baffle a driver. Why would you want to have something so confusing? There are three reasons why roundabouts, traffic circles and traffic calming circles were formed.

Normal intersections meet at 90 degree angles which during a crash, the crash is usually a T-bone (T-bone = a car going through an intersection is struck by an oncoming car in the side of their car, thus making a shape of a T). In a roundabout, the crash is usually less than a 45 degree angle and the vehicles are moving in the same direction. This would result in a less violent crash and causing less severe injuries.  Also more often, by my estimation, the car is more likely repairable. The key is that people have less chance of injury.

A roundabout helps maintains the flow of traffic. The most effective intersection, at best, has one flow of traffic stopped at all times. We do have flashing (demand) green lights on side streets, which facilitate longer green light times for the heavier flow of traffic. But in a roundabout, traffic is flowing and only stops momentarily when traffic is in the roundabout.

It is more cost efficient to build a roundabout than to build an overpass, therefore, saving the city a great deal but installing a roundabout.

A roundabout is not to confuse and baffle a driver, but is more efficient, safer and more cost effective. Which is why I tell my new driving students that I believe they will be seeing more and more roundabouts in their lifetime than before.

Sable - Learning a ton from these neat arsielct.

Faith Bodnar - I learned to use traffic circles in Alberta. The most intimidating part of them is not being sure what others will do. There seems to be so much confusion about what the rules are.

T w i t t e r   F e e d