You’re doing it wrong: The right way to exit a driveway

By Ian Law Wheels.ca

Jun 14, 2012 3 min. read

Article was updated 10 years ago

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Living in a rural environment certainly has its benefits.

Less traffic, more relaxed pace, less traffic, cleaner air, and did I mention less traffic?

I thoroughly enjoy driving in the country but even out here there are a few driving habits exhibited by rural motorists that can be dangerous.

One of the most common mistakes is backing out of a driveway onto a highway or road. City motorists make this same driving error when reversing out of their driveways onto residential streets.

It is always safer to back into a parking space and drive out forward. This is the method we are taught to use in parking lots by driving schools.

Since you must back up either going in or when leaving the parking space, it is always safer to back in and then drive out into traffic. This allows for much better vision of traffic instead of relying on over the shoulder glances or, worse, mirror watching while backing up.

Trying to see traffic that can be moving at speeds of 80 to 100 km/h while looking over both your shoulders is at best sketchy. When coming out of a driveway forward, the driver only needs to look left, right and left again in a more natural position using a simple turn of the head.

Whenever we must pull into a driveway, we should pull over to the right past the entrance way and then reverse into the driveway when traffic is clear. Now, when we need to leave, we can pull out forward for better vision and a safer access to the road. No need to be looking over your shoulder while reversing and no need to stop on the road and change gears to pull forward.

The ideal way to exit and then enter a road is to pull into the driveway forward, turn around in the driveway and then pull onto the road driving forward.

This simple safety tip also applies in the urban setting as well. Anytime we must use a driveway, it is always safer to back in and then drive out forward to be able to enter traffic more safely. We are less likely to back over people or objects when backing in as the driver normally has good overview of the driveway when approaching from the street. When reversing out of a driveway, the driver is more likely to back over objects or pedestrians due to limited sightlines.

Never reverse out into traffic when possible.

While we are discussing reversing a vehicle, it should also be noted that it is illegal under Section 157 of the Highway Traffic Act to “back a vehicle upon the roadway or shoulder of any highway divided by a median strip on which the maximum speed limit is in excess of 80 km/h per hour”. In other words it is illegal to back up on our 400 series highways or anywhere there is a median strip and where the speed limit is over 80 km/h. It is very dangerous and motorists have been killed and seriously injured doing just that.

If you miss your exit on any highway, simply proceed to the next exit where you can safely access the lanes going in the other direction and head back to the correct exit.

Simple, safe and it will only add a few minutes to your travel time instead of weeks or months in recovery and rehab.
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