4 Tips to Remember When Driving in Vancouver

For those new to driving, visiting Vancouver, or those who have recently moved to the area, Vancouver’s roads can prove rather intimidating.

For those new to driving, visiting Vancouver, or those who have recently moved to the area, Vancouver’s roads can prove rather intimidating. While Central Vancouver and Richmond’s grid layouts are relatively easy to navigate, its surrounding areas are not quite as straight-forward (literally). Other unique challenges include comparatively narrower lanes than those elsewhere in British Columbia, plus the common sharing of the road with cyclists. And while driving in Vancouver, like driving in general, is best learned through practice, here are just a few things to keep in mind when driving in Vancouver.

  1. Practice parallel parking

Vancouver is a very compact city with notoriously expensive parking, so if you insist on finding free parking, your best bet will be on the side of the road. Always be aware of ongoing traffic around you, but also take your time to make sure your vehicle won’t inconvenience drivers while parked.

  1. Consider transit options

Some parts of Vancouver, particularly downtown, are more friendly to foot-traffic than cars. This is especially because Vancouver, for the most part, has no major inner-city freeways, making rush hour traffic noticeably slower than otherwise. Between that and Vancouver’s infamous gas prices, there is a chance that a train ride may prove a faster and more affordable option than driving. If you intend to be driving in Vancouver long-term though, driving lessons and/or transferring your license to a BC driving license is definitely advisable.

  1. Utilize navigation apps

This stands for driving in any city unfamiliar to you, but Vancouver in particular can be occasionally confusing if you’re not sure how to get to where you’re going. This is especially true if travelling through the Greater Vancouver Area, as taking the wrong exit (or not leaving at the correct exit) may cost up to a half hour of extra travel time. As long as you are able to observe your navigation app without letting it distract you from the road, paying attention to arranged directions will help ease the anxiety of driving in Vancouver. And for new drivers or those new to Vancouver, driving on the right side is a safe measure to take while you find your footing in the city.

  1. Practice defensive driving

Vancouver has a reputation for a large population of reactive drivers and inclement weather, with the latter often amplifying the dangers of the earlier. In order to minimize danger to yourself and others, give other drivers plenty of space, gauge the overall speed of other drivers and adjust accordingly, and be aware of changes in landscape and road construction projects.

Driving in a new city or without much practice (or both) will always be a somewhat nerve-wracking experience, but driving lessons can help build confidence and ability, as well as provide a safe way to practice driving in unfamiliar territory.