The team of auto mechanics at Searles sees a lot of cars come in with N’s on their bumpers, so we figured it was time to write a post geared towards new drivers.
The reason a lot of new drivers keep their N for longer than they are required to is sometimes financial, sometimes not having the time, but in a lot of cases it’s due to nerves about having to take another road test. The key is to relax enough so you don’t end up making these top seven mistakes that are commonly made on driver’s licensing tests across British Columbia.
- Not Being Prepared
Feeling prepared for any sort of test is usually the first key to success. ICBC lists common things you can do to prepare for your road test appointment, including what to bring. To complete a road test you need to bring with you: an acceptable form of ID, the fee for your road test, valid insurance and registration documents, and a safe vehicle.
So, what does ICBC mean by “safe vehicle”? There are many things the road test personnel will be looking for before your road test begins, and it is your job to make sure your vehicle is in road-ready condition by checking to see that:
- The windshield and windows are clean and aren’t cracked or illegally tinted.
- There are no random dash warning lights indicating any problems.
- Seatbelts are in good working order and not frayed.
- Brake lights, signal lights, and headlights are working and not badly cracked.
- Vehicle is properly insured.
- There are no unsafe or illegal vehicle modifications that have been done.
- The horn is working.
- Tires are in good shape, properly inflated, and the right type for the season.
- Your car is clean inside and nothing is blocking your views or otherwise rolling around and distracting you.
In addition, make sure you have enough gas in the tank! If you’re in doubt about any of the points above, book an appointment with an auto mechanic who can inspect your vehicle first and make any necessary repairs for you before your test.
- Rolling Stops
It should come as no surprise that one of the most common mistakes people make on their BC road test is not coming to a complete stop at stop signs. Over time, drivers tend to develop the habit of not stopping completely at a stop sign, and just scanning the intersection and rolling through. The same is true for making right-hand turns at traffic lights. In both cases, you must come to a full stop, behind the line.
You should be able to feel it in your body that the vehicle has completely stopped for a second. However, you also need to avoid braking too hard, because hard braking is only acceptable in emergency situations. In all other situations, use the minimal amount of brakes to get the job done. This is where being familiar with the vehicle you are completing your test in will be of great benefit.
- Bad Lane Changes
Lane changes make many new drivers anxious. It takes practice out there, as well as following the checklist: look in your rear-view mirror, signal your intention to change lanes, check each of your mirrors again, shoulder check for blind spots, and maintain your speed as you change lanes.
So, where do people go wrong on this one? Road markings! You can only change lanes if the road markings allow you to do so. Don’t cross a solid white line or a solid double yellow lines. Review the rules in your manual.
Another area where people go wrong during lane changes is changing while passing through an intersection. Whether you are going straight or making a turn, stay in your marked lane so as not to wildly confuse other drivers.
- Distracted Driving
It’s common-sense to not have your cell phone in sight during your road test, but we needed to put this on our list anyway. Make sure the volume of your phone is off and that your stereo is also turned off. You want to be relaxed, but not too relaxed. Keep both hands on the wheel at all times and when turning, use the “hand over hand” method. Did we mention you should try and stay calm?
Another thing you can do to show you are not distracted and therefore are highly focussed at the task at hand is to should check your mirrors often. In fact, check them more often than you normally would while driving. Check rear-view and side mirrors so that you always know where other vehicles are in relation to you. The constant checks show your focus and help you react faster to dangers and make smoother land changes and turns. Don’t be afraid to over exaggerate the checking of your mirrors.
- Flustered at Four-Way Stops
Four-way stops are always an issue for drivers, no matter how many years of experience they have behind the wheel. The rule is, when you come to an intersection with four stop signs, be confident you know what to do if there are other cars waiting.
Also, make eye contact with the other drivers if you can, or watch their wheels for clues. Just because you know when it’s YOUR turn, doesn’t mean the other people at the intersection know and follow the same rules. Some people will go for it, so even if it’s your turn, only go when it’s clear. The rule is that if two cars arrive at an intersection at the same time, the car to the right goes first. Be mindful of pedestrians and always signal!
- Driving Too Slow or Fast
During your BC road test, it is important to appear confident. This means driving considerably below the speed limit is a no go. It can cause unsafe conditions and enrage other people around you. Likewise, there are times when it is better if you drive under the speed limit.
For example, if there is rain, fog, an accident, traffic congestion, a SCHOOL ZONE, or a construction zone, slow down and give people plenty of room. When maintaining a consistent speed on the road, also be sure to stay several car lengths behind the vehicles in front of you. No one likes a tailgater.
- Bombing During Parallel Parking
Along with four-way stops and lane changes, parallel parking is another aspect of driving that makes people nervous. Fortunately, driver inspectors know this, so it is not a deal breaker if your parallel park job is not perfect.
If you are asked to do this on your test, the main thing to avoid is running over the curb or hitting other cars. A gentle bump of the curb is OK, but forcefully running it over is not. Again, always signal your intentions, and take your time and make as many adjustments as you need.
Whether you’re a new driver or have been behind the wheel for decades, optimizing your experience on the roads is what we do best here at Searles, which is why we were voted Best Automotive Service (Independent) in 2016 by readers of the Victoria News.
Give us a call at 250-475-2000 or book an appointment online for your next inspection or service. Spring is in the air, and so why not give your car a little spring cleaning as well? We do detailing!
Happy New Year, everyone! Now that the holidays are officially a wrap, it’s time to get back to the daily grind, and for some of you, the daily commute. If one of your resolutions for 2017 was to stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule a little bit better, this post ought to help out with that.
Here one day, gone the next. That is almost every Vancouver Islander’s attitude when it comes to snow and ice on the roads. It’s no wonder why drivers all blame each other for “not knowing how to drive in this crap.” Unfortunately, the City of Victoria also gets needlessly blamed for not responding fast enough…
More often than not, drivers are guilty of ignoring warning signs or doing certain things to their vehicles that lead to an earlier trip to the repair shop than they had anticipated. At Searles we see it all the time: early on-set damage to vehicles that we know could have been prevented.
Sure, accidents happen, and potholes and icy patches can come out of nowhere, but in many cases, paying more attention on the roads and to your vehicle itself will help prevent you from having to see an auto mechanic practically every other month.
However, if you really want to come and see us more often, here are five of the worst things you can do to damage your car: Read More
As much time as you spend taking care of your car, it spends a great deal of time taking care of you. And I am not just talking about getting you from point A to point B in a timely fashion. I am talking about all of the many ways it keeps you safe on the road.
Have you taken a newer car on a test drive lately? How safe did you feel? Very? It’s no surprise. Many vehicle makes and models out there now come equipped with advanced safety features in the way of exterior sensors. These exterior radars and sensors alert you when objects creep into your blind spots. Depending on the type of system, your car might also apply the brakes on your behalf. Whoa, Nelly!
These advanced safety features are considered add-ons for the majority of makes and models out there and are marketed under various trade names. This means each system’s capabilities will vary by manufacturer and model. For example, right off the top there is Acura’s Collision Mitigation Brake System, Cadillac’s Automatic Collision Preparation and Volvo’s Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection, which are just a few options out there. Read More
Have you ever noticed that whenever a small earthquake shakes Vancouver Island and surrounding areas, out come all the emergency preparedness headlines? The only reason these reminders exist is because few people are prepared for disaster around here, and the media knows it!
The truth is, it’s not that people are too lazy or too cheap to think about preparing for an emergency, it’s just that most of us don’t want to think about the possibility of something bad happening. It’s just not something we place on the top of our minds—same goes for taxes, rising food costs, climate change and the like. So, items in our emergency kits remain on the store shelves, waiting to be assembled.
Well, I’m here to tell you that experiencing an emergency while on the road is a lot more likely than a tidal wave or the Big One coming for us, and that preparing for a roadside emergency takes very little effort and space inside your vehicle. In fact, there are emergency car-care kits available at stores that have included some or all of these components for you already. It’s just a matter of picking one up, or putting it on your birthday wish list. Read More
It’s now the end of November, and you know what that means! With the watering restrictions of summer a distant memory, and the federal election long behind us, and Halloween costumes packed up for another year, it’s finally time to turn our attention to holiday planning, and more important, holiday partying.
For many people, the holidays are a time of great indulgence, more so than Halloween or even birthday parties. For this reason, drinking and driving becomes an even larger concern across the province, so it’s never too early to start planning a safe ride home. Read More
For many, wheel misalignment is seen as one of those pesky problems that comes along with car ownership. And while yes, wheel misalignment can occur naturally over time, it’s more likely that there’s a specific reason behind your wonky tires. Like your driving habits. Or your tendency to neglect your car. Or that time you bumped a curb in the parking lot.
When your tires are out of alignment, it basically means they aren’t pointing in the right direction. You may notice your vehicle pulling to one direction or vibrating as the wheels pull against each other, or that your steering wheel is crooked even though you’re driving straight. This all negatively affects your steering, suspension and tires, but more importantly, it compromises your safety on the road. And that’s never a good thing.
Are you familiar with these common causes of wheel alignment problems?
Everyone hits a curb at one point or another. Whether it’s a gentle bump as you pull into a tricky driveway or a bad jolt from hitting one of those concrete parking spot dividers (not technically a curb, but close enough), it can be enough to throw a tire or two out of alignment. Read More
Victoria BC has some great roads. Epic, really. From winding coastal roads to mountaintop vistas to leafy tree-lined streets, your new favorite drive is just around the corner.
But…we also have some really awful roads. So bad, in fact, that 7 out of the top 10 crash intersections on Vancouver Island are located right here in Victoria. The helpful folks over at ICBC compiled some stats on these intersections, including how many crashes happened at each one in 2013.
Here’s a rundown of our fine city’s most dangerous spots for drivers:
#5. Burnside Rd W & Tillicum Rd
Here, you have all sorts of drivers and they don’t always get along. There are people just coming off the highway, people heading to the highway, impatient commuters trying to avoid the Douglas St. crush, mall shoppers who are in no hurry whatsoever, and the occasional parent who can’t find the Little League field. You’ll see every speed and every disposition, not to mention an endless stream of pedestrians to brake for. Not pretty. Read More