Q and A

This is a section that allows people to send in driving related questions. The questions and answers will be posted every few days. Please e-mail your questions to; safedriver36@yahoo.ca

Q) What do you do if there is an object in your lane, and cars on either side of you?

A) The answer to this question is a little different. In case you need to move around an object that’s in your lane, you need an open lane to your side. Avoid having drivers sit directly beside you. This staggered formation will always provide you with an escape. There will be times that you’ll have to work very hard to keep at least one open lane beside you, but if you also look ahead to spot the problem early, you’ll have time to adjust speed to create the stagger.

Q) What do you do if someone is tailgating you?

A) If you’re being tailgated, increase your following distance from the driver in front and check your mirrors every 3 to 5 seconds. This gives you more braking time if the lead vehicle stops suddenly and the mirror checks will keep you up to date with the tailgater. If you can change lanes to let the tailgater pass, it removes the problem.

Q) Since the recent storm in Edmonton, most of the right, or curbside lanes of our city streets are “half” lanes. What is the etiquette and proper driving rules for these lanes? It’s driving me insane, I travel in the cleared left lane like most people, but today a delivery van tried to squeeze past me on the right, and was blaring his horn at me because he was literally going to scrape the side of my van.

Who has the right of way, what is the proper way to drive on streets such as there? Shouldn’t we use the clear lane until we need to turn right instead of trying to squeeze where a car (or truck) just cannot fit?

A) Thank you for the question. Each driver is entitled to the lane they are currently driving in. You, and most of the drives near you, were doing the correct thing by driving in the lane that gave you the best vehicle control. Driving in a lane that is half covered in snow doesn’t make much sense, especially if control is affected. The driver of the delivery van seemed to want to beat the traffic and squeeze past you.

To deal with this, checking your mirror every 5 to 8 seconds will keep you up to date with who is approaching from behind. If you spot a driver trying to squeeze past you in one of those lanes, drift slightly to your left (with no oncoming traffic near) and reduce speed gradually before they reach you. This will give them some added space and allow them to pass you safely and quickly.

Q) I have a question, how do you explain how to drive safely on gravel washboard roads to someone who has only driven on pavement? We live in the country and I know how to drive on lots of road conditions but friends who come to visit often don’t and have ditched it or almost rolled because they were driving like it was pavement.

A) It’s very similar to driving on ice or snow. Loose gravel doesn’t allow for traction like a paved road does. Slowing sooner before a stop or a turn or a curve is a normal driving practice on snowy roads, so do the same on gravel roads. Washboard roads may cause the wheels to skip or dance sideways, so reducing speed helps you keep traction. ABS won’t help a lot here, so brake early.

Q) Hi, I enjoy your blog.  But I have a question.   Most of the roads where I live are gravel.  In the spring, they become pure mud.   I find the mud more slippery than snow and it pushes you more.   How do you drive in gravel/mud?

A) Thank you for your question. The first thing to remember is that mud is quite slippery, even more than snow and rain. It gives very little traction, so keep your speed reduced and drive in a lower gear. The lower gear will allow the engine to slow the vehicle down as opposed to braking. Avoid driving in the ruts of the road. That’s where rain will gather and therefore the mud will increase. Drive outside of the ruts or grooves so your tires can better grip the road. Also keep your tires in good condition with better than average tread. And finally, avoid heavy pressure on the gas. Always take it slow and easy in these conditions with gradual increases of speed.