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Camry
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Warning, this is a long post.


So, having experienced some of Canadian driving during my time north of the border, I'd like to post some observations. It's interesting to note the extreme difference in driving style... granted, I only really drove in town in toronto and surrounding areas, and my highway experience is limited to the 401, 407, and a few supporting highway... but the behavior was consistent enough for me to think that what I was seeing was representative. Comments are welcome, especially from the Canadian contingent.

So, I entered Canada from Windsor on 401. You get a mix of Michigan/Ontario drivers around there, so I was able to drive like an American with really not too much badness. Progressing deeper into your country, however, it became more and more harrowing. I quickly saw that everyone was speeding. I was a little unsure about the cop situation, so I drove at the posted 100km/h. A little pokey I thought, seeing as how that's 60mph or so. But I didn't want to get a ticket.

EVERYONE speeds. Seriously, I found maybe two people actually doing the speed limit. It was when I was passing some poor soul with a trailer (doing 90, wonder of wonders) that I started to develop some Rules for Canadian driving. I'm passing this dude, I'm going about 101, and this Bronco or something comes out of nowhere doing like 160. I'm still passing and he starts flashing his lights beind me, honking his horn, generally indicating he's mighty pissed off at me hogging his lane and being legal. I proceded to pass at 100km/h, and he flipped me off as he passed me. Again, honking. This pissed me off a LOT. So I started speeding, too.

It was a whole new world for me. I set the cruise at maybe 110 or 115, payed attention to the signs saying, "Slower traffic use right lane", and slowly over the weekend developed the following rules for driving in Canada. Mostly these apply to highway driving, but to some extent they do apply to local roads as well. Note: 1 mile = ~1.6km. If I refer to big numbers it's probably km/h, smaller ones are more likely mph

Here they are:
  1. Drive 20 over the posted limit. If it's listed as 100, you go 120. If you're feeling frisky you can probably go faster, but I didn't want to risk a ticket and almost everyone was hovering around that speed.
  2. Assume you are the slowest person on the road. This means you stay in the right lane. If you have to pass someone, do so, but get back in the right lane after you're done. If there are three or more lanes, you can probably get away with hanging out in the middle, especially in toronto where the right lanes typically turn into Collectors and you don't want to take those unless you're getting off the expressway.
  3. If you are passing and someone comes up behind you, speed up then move right as soon as you can.
  4. It's okay to cut right in front or right behind people. This is important when coupled with the above rule, because if you need to pass but there's a line of cars in the left lane, you can squeeze in and get your passing done. You don't have to wait for the line to pass.
    [/list=1]

    When I followed these rules it was smooth sailing, and if I assumed that all the Canadians were following them I could accurately predict what any given driver was going to do in a given situation. It was a new experience to be able to determine exactly what another driver was going to do.

    You Canadians may think the above is pretty normal or obvious, so let me post some general rules for driving on American Interstates, based on my experiences driving the roads between New York and Colorado. Obviously there are local differences, but for the most part these hold true.
    American Highway Rules:
    1. 5mph over is the general limit. I think this stems from the urban myth that cops cut slack up to 5 over due to radar and speedometer inaccuracies. I don't know if it's true, but it seems to be the norm. 10 over is more exciting, and indeed parts of the country that's what people drive, but there seems to be some expectation that you're risking a ticket, even if everyone else is doing 10 and 15 over.
    2. Pass when you can, but don't cut in front of people. Wait your turn. This means you can easily get stuck behind slow trucks waiting for a line of faster cars to pass.
    3. If you are passing, there's no real obligation to break the law in order to get back in the right lane. For example, if you're doing 65mph and start to pass a truck going 60, feel free to continue your pace even though someone behind you wants to go 70.
    4. No lane is sacrosanct. You see people hanging out in any lane, though there is some tendency to stick more towards the right. In three or more lane situations the left-most lane typically is for the very fast traffic or passing, but you still do see people going the speed limit on that side.
    5. It's basically a free-for-all.
      [/list=1]

      I was trying to figure out why there's such a disparity in social rules of driving. The best I can come up with is it's the psychology of numbers and the fact that we use miles per hour while you use kilometers per hour. Think about it... Canadian speed limits seem to increment in 10s, American limits go by 5s. Add to that the apparent hard limit for getting a ticket at 20km over versus 5mph over and it kind of becomes apparent. If the limit is 100 and everyone's going 120, you canadians have ~15mph to play with. People tend to like whole numbers, so you'll see clustering at 105, 110, 115, 120, etc. So the differences in speed are more obvious in Canada than in the US where you've got a narrower range... people going 67-71 or so. As well, if you go by 10s, doing 10km over equates to doing something like 3 miles over in people's minds. It's all about how significant your speeding feels.

      Oh, I should also add this... 100km/h = ~60mph. 120km/h = 75mph. In every place I've lived, 15mph over the speed limit is a reckless driving charge and license suspension. So for US drivers there's that disincentive to go much faster than posted.

      So, American rules work in the US because really you're going to have less of a difference in speed between you and other cars. They don't work so well in Canada. Canadians have more significant differences, so it almost requires that one follow such rules as "if you're in my way, you better break the law in order to get out of my way". However, driving like a Canadian in the US will get you lights flashed and horns honked, because your driving style makes you seem like a reckless speeder... and cops will view you as such, too.

      Anyway, it was interesting. Once I got used to it and learned the rules, I kind of like driving in Canada. Mainly because it's really nice to be able to predict what other drivers are going to do. And besides, I just like being able to go 75.
 

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Sleeper-still sleeping
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:lol: good job, Brink...you've discovered the wonders of Canadian driving!

yes, the 400-series highways tend to have drivers going about 15-20km/h faster than the limit (except on holidays/long weekends). For example, at most time, I'm going 120km/h on the 404/DVP. Inside roads I'll go no more than 10km/h over the limit (i.e. 80 in a 70 zone). :D

BTW, that Bronco driver is an ass. If he did that to me, I'd be pissed too.

So, how's your driving in Canadian winters, Brink? Have you tried it yet?
 

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5M-GE
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Yeah, 110-120km/h is the "real" speed limit up here, and even the cops know it.

If you drive at those speeds, as long as you drive courteously and not like an asshole, cops will leave you alone. I live right by the 400/401 interchange.

I actually find it quite entertaining to see cars fly by on your left or right (!) as you're doing 110-120. A whole bunch of wind noise and car noise and fwoooooooom :lol:
 

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Camry
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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, it's fun up there. And really for as dangerous as it initially feels, Canadian drivers seem to give off the impression of courteous recklessness, at least. Kinda neat.

I haven't really had much canadian winter driving experience... just a short jaunt into windsor during the detroit autoshow... And the roads were fairly decent at that point. Just very cold.


TOcorolla: Generally highway speeds are 65mph wich is around 110km/h. Michigan and some of the western states of limits of 70 or 75, and I know at one point Montana had certain stretches where the limit was "God go with you, cause we don't care". And there are highways in the deserts of the southwest where you can go 100 (160km/h) or more all day and never see another soul on the road.
 

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If you are passing, there's no real obligation to break the law in order to get back in the right lane. For example, if you're doing 65mph and start to pass a truck going 60, feel free to continue your pace even though someone behind you wants to go 70
Well, there isn't an obligation.... but you should. Cause it is stupid for slow people to was other peoples time by taking 5 min to pass. Or even like most do and sit in the speed lane while matching the other lanes.

That's how people get tailgated.

And I don't put up with slow drivers in the left lane.


*But then again, Minnesota driving scared brink :lol:
 

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Banning is an art.
1992 Camry V6 LE
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Wow, nice write up Brink...I'd say you have it pretty down pat with the rules and all. We despise left lane hoggers...if you're in the left lane and someone is tailing you, you better get out regardless of how fast you're going.

Most people seem to cruise around ~115km/h. It's mainly because over 115 you get points taken off for speeding...cops will almost never ticket you for anything lower than 115, unless you were doing like 125, and they dropped it to 114.

Out of Toronto, everyone speeds, especially on the 400 going north. I cruise at about 130-135 and I get passed a lot. It's nuts. It's all us city slickers trying to get to the cottage and don't give a crap about anything else.
 

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CTM/ShiftGate CAMRY
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well once im up in canada for the toyota meet....Ill make ure to keep reading mph that way in a 110 km/h zone ill be going 110mph and stay out everyones way!:thumbup:
 

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^
hahahaha!


So do I need to keep a calculator in the car for everytime I pass a speed limit sign?

Or will I not be able to see them at 110mph:lol:
 

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Know God. Work Hard.
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You forgot about the American "Rolling Stop". You see Canada; we dont completely stop for stop signs. We just slow down through them, unless theres another car RIGHT there at the line. (Especially if its a cop)
 

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400whp club here I come!!
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You obviously don't live in California :D


65mph = 80mph MINIMUM!

If you are going 65mph on the freeway... you better be over 80 years old, driving a geo, or driving a semi-truck. Even simi trucks do a good 70 - 75mph... even though their speed limit is 55mph.

If you are going 85.... and the person behind you wants to go 90.... get the hell out of the way.... cause they are just going to ride your ass.... or do something stupid and cause an accident.

When you are performing a lane change.... you look the person square in the eye.... wait until they get nice and close... and then pull into their lane with no turn signal. You usually accompany this with a middle finger after they honk at you.

The "slower traffic stay left" rule never applies. Faster traffic stay right.... and swerve between the two slower lanes.... than will get you by the people doing 80 in the 65mph fast lane.

Stop signs are never manditory. It's more of a warning. And traffic signals.... that yellow doesn't mean stop or slow down.... it means mash the gas pedal and hope you beat the cameras (we have cameras that go off at most major intersections.... if you get your picture taken.... $350usd ticket :().

Turn signals are not generally used....people are expected to just know what you're doing.

If you DO NOT have a cell phone on your ear for 80% of your trip time... you are obviously from out of state... and need to get off of the road.

Also... .I understand that in some states.... motorcycles can't cut through traffic??.... not in California..... if you are on a street bike... cut through cars like a crazy motha. I always move over for those guys.... seems to make their job easier.
 

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400whp club here I come!!
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Ya... California drivers are soo damn stupid. You can be in bumper to bumper Los Angeles traffic.... and people will still be trying to haul ass and cut through traffic. Some people just drive down the sholders... other just weave in and out of lanes for no apparent reason (watch Office Space... you'll get the idea).... and the other jack asses just drive really fast and then slam on their brakes, usually ends up in the rear ending someone.
 

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5M-GE
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ishcoleobo said:
Ya... California drivers are soo damn stupid. You can be in bumper to bumper Los Angeles traffic.... and people will still be trying to haul ass and cut through traffic. Some people just drive down the sholders... other just weave in and out of lanes for no apparent reason (watch Office Space... you'll get the idea).... and the other jack asses just drive really fast and then slam on their brakes, usually ends up in the rear ending someone.
When I was stuck on the 400/69 Southbound near Parry Sound for 6 hours on the Canada Day weekend, there were plenty of people shoulder driving. Yeah, they were idiots, but still, we get those people up here.
 

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GT-i Crew
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LOL... Last May I went to Switzerland to visit my brother. He took some days off work from his vacation and set off to Rome by car.

Driving in Switzerland is a lot like Brinks experience:
1.- Posted speed limit is 120 KPH, normal people usually respect the limit, police usually give you a 6-8 KPH slack, but most people stay on 120 KPH.

2.- You usually use the left lane for overtaking another car and return to the right lane, except on 4 lane highways were you can usually ride the 2 middle lanes without any problem and the extreme right is used by trucks and cars leaving/entering the highway.

3.- Same as Brink, if you are passing and someone comes up behind he will usually wait for you to finish passing the car and take the right, if you decide to stay on the left expect a show of light, sound and hand signals from the car behind.

4.- Since radar detectors are outlawed in Switzerlad all locals usually know where the traffic cams are installed, so if you see an Audi TT or BMW Z3 pulling up behind you and you decide to follow closely NASCAR style, the you better have some very good reflexes and some excellent braking power because these mofo's will brake just in time to avoid tripping the wire on the cam sensors.

5- Driving distance is your usual, problem comes when you get caught in the middle of rush hour on a friday afternoon... L.A. style traffic on highways but at 120 KPH... nerve wrecking for those used to stop and go traffic jams.
 

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Guitars and Cars
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Haha funny stuff.

I can vouch for the California stuff, it's all true.

On Interstate 280, 80 mph is the norm despite the 65mph posted limit.

That'd be going 129 in a 105 in kph.

And motorcylces splitting lanes is the norm on the freeway or in town and it's legal.
 

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Hey Brink,

Cool that you made it for DKN this weekend (I've never actually gone...)

Anyways, reading your Canadian highway driving comments was interesting, I think that most of the highway speeding comes from the fact our 400 series highways are engineered for speeds well over 100 km/h. Highway speed enforcement is basically a big joke, unless it's the long weekend when it's very serious business with little tolerance - if any.

The unwritten 120 km/h highway speed limit comes from the way the liscence demerit point system is setup here in Ontario.

Speeding:
1-15 km/h over = 0 points and $45 fine
16-29 km/h over = 3 points + a bigger fine

So basically it's not a big policing priority if you're only going 15 - 20 over, anything more than that and you're risking a points and a fine. Speeding 10km/h over in 50 km/h zones is still ok, most police turn a blind eye upto 20km/h in 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 zones. There's a lot of discretion available to police, I've been followed by OPP coming back from Shannonville going 130km/h on cruise control without being pulled over. I only found out later when we stopped for coffee and gas, we think he was waiting for me to go 1km faster so he could pull me over. Cruise rocks!
 
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