- The eighth-of-a-second rule.
- In most places this is known as the Two-Second Rule. Here's the way it works.
Watch the car in front of you. When that car passes a pole or mark on the road, start counting "one one-thousand, two one-thousand." If you pass by the mark before you finish counting to two, you're following too close. In Ontario, it's an eighth of a second. Not two seconds. Two seconds is too long. How can you expect everyone to fit on the roads if they all follow the two-second rule?
Also note that in most places the number of seconds increases with the size of the following vehicle. If you're driving a school bus, you should probably be counting to 4 because your brakes will take longer to stop your bus than the Honda Civic you're following. In Ontario, it's the opposite. The bigger and heavier your vehicle, the closer you must follow.
- Anyone caught using their signal lights to show intention of changing lanes, or turning onto another street, driveway, etc. shall be sentenced to life in a maximum security prison with no chance of parole. Ever. - Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
They've attached the hefty penalty because they're so serious about this. They do not want people showing intention of turning by use of signal lights. 98% of Ontarian drivers obey this law without fail.
However, signaling you're going to turn, then not turning - even though you're in the turning lane - is quite fine. Leaving your signal light on while driving down the highway while never changing lanes is also fine.
- Pullling Out Into Traffic:
- It is advisable to look both ways before pulling out into traffic from a perpendicular street or driveway, but please ignore how fast any oncoming vehicles are going.
- When two lanes become one, and traffic must merge, all cars must do as much as possible to prevent the merging to look like a giant zipper from the sky. If you're in the lane that's ending, you must drive as fast as you can to force your way into the furthest forward, however inconvenient to other drivers, giving up as many open spaces as possible. You were probably taught in school never to cut in line. That applies to the cafeteria; not roads.
- Red Lights
- In most places red traffic lights mean stop! In Ottawa, they're just suggesting you might want to stop. If you feel like it. Otherwise, just go right through the intersection at any speed you feel is appropriate - as long as it's at least 90 km/h. Besides, the Yellow Lights are mere flashes in Ottawa.
- Lane Choice on the Queensway
- Most highways operate in the following manner: The far right lane is the slowest. The far left lane is the fastest. Traffic moves faster as the lane moves farther left. If the posted speed limit is 100 km/h, people in the far right lane might go 100 km/h on an ideal day. If people want to go faster, they use the left lane(s) to pass.
This is how the Queensway operates: The posted speed limit is - oh never mind. It doesn't matter. Feel free to do anything between 50 and 180 km/h. Don't worry about being in the wrong lane for your speed. There is no wrong lane. However, if you find another vehicle going the same speed as you, it is an offence punishable by death to occupy the same lane. You have to adjust your speed until you're right beside the other vehicle, then resume your original speed. This prevents anyone from passing you.
Also, you are required by law to change your speed by at least 20 km/h at every exit. It doesn't matter if you speed up or slow down - as long as you're within the 50 -180 km/h buffer.
Also, don't let the weather interfere with your driving habits. If you want to go 180 km/h on a bright sunny day in July, then you must also go 180 km/h during an ice storm in January. It's the law. By the same token, if you'd do 50 km/h during an ice storm, then you must also do 50 km/h on a clear and sunny day.
- Posted Speed Limits:
- The posted speed limits around Embrun are in French. While the numbers look the same as English numbers, their meanings are quite different.
Between the 417 and the town of Embrun, the posted speed limit looks like 80 km/h to an anglophone like myself. But, as I have found out, when you do the conversion to English numbers, it's actually 120 km/h. If you do 80 km/h, you will be passed as though you're standing still.
But once you get into Embrun, it works the other way. The posted speed limit is 50 km/h. Or at least that's what it looks like in English. But once you translate it into the native French, it's actually more like 30 km/h. You can try to do 50 km/h, but you will be promptly slowed down to 30 km/h by the car in front of you.