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Driving tips

Liverpool, United...
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11 posts
2 reviews
3 helpful votes
Driving tips
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Hi everyone. First time to Canada and I have hired a car (coming from uk). I have never driven on the right hand side before. Will be driving from the airport to whistler (second week in Oct 2019). Is there anything I need to consider? Is it difficult driving in downtown Vancouver?

Thanks.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
Destination Expert
for British Columbia
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11,312 posts
2 reviews
2 helpful votes
1. Re: Driving tips
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Lose the car you don't need it- take the bus.

hth

Kingston, Canada
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239 posts
47 reviews
22 helpful votes
2. Re: Driving tips
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I found transitioning from left side to right side driving that the most most difficult thing was looking to my Right and up for the rear view mirror rather than to the left and up. But I preferred shifting with my left hand in the UK, keeping my dominant right hand on the steering wheel. Also, I found that Canadian drivers rely more on the foot brake, whereas UK drivers are more apt to gear down and use the hand brake more.

Gibsons, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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9,616 posts
32 reviews
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3. Re: Driving tips
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People mostly drive automatic cars in Canada and in the UK, they typically drive standard. Driving schools/exams are more rigorous in the UK and are extremely basic in Canada, and this is reflected in the style of driving. Also, roads are wide, distances are vast, and infrastructure is developed for cars in Canada so there's a simplicity to driving here. In the UK, cars came after infrastructure was already built, roads are narrow, distances tiny and population density huge so driving's more stressful and complicated as a result. But I agree with Sam, you don't need a car for Vancouver or Whistler.

Vancouver, Canada
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3,227 posts
133 reviews
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4. Re: Driving tips
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Are you just going to Whistler? If so, as Sam notes the Skylynx bus is reasonably priced and timed and has a good reputation. Only problem is that last departure is at 1800 so if you’re on BA may not work for you.

If you are spending time in Vancouver, especially downtown, you don’t need a car (and parking is expensive). Downtown is walkable and transit is efficient.

Toronto, Canada
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5,928 posts
41 reviews
31 helpful votes
5. Re: Driving tips
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I agree with the others. You dont need a car.

Vancouver
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3,292 posts
65 reviews
96 helpful votes
6. Re: Driving tips
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If you can do it, having a car is almost always better than taking the bus. Freedom to stop where you want and go when you want, etc.

Driving from the airport to downtown can be a bit crazy, the streets are packed with cars during peak periods and you have to make a few key turns or you will end up in the wrong lane or on a one-way street and need to circle around. But, if you have a GPS or use GPS on your phone it is easy enough to navigate. You will need your passenger or a holder for your phone as you cannot hold your phone while driving here.

Once you are on the road to Whistler it is pretty simple. Just go slow, look in all directions and follow the cars in front of you, the opposite side of the road hopefully won't be too bad. Also as noted you can't rent a manual transmission car here, it is becoming almost impossible to even buy one. So no need to worry about shifting!

Vancouver, Canada
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39,573 posts
60 reviews
46 helpful votes
7. Re: Driving tips
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Without going too far into some of the other issues, the direct route from the airport to Whistler crosses right through central downtown and will be nasty depending on the time of day. There is counterflow on the Lion's Gate bridge so its always badly jammed up in both directions.

Having more information about your entire plan, including time of day and day of the week will help with the advice. Note that October 14th is the Thanksgiving holiday.

Calgary, Canada
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7,205 posts
56 reviews
102 helpful votes
8. Re: Driving tips
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I drove on the left for 16 or so years, and then moved to Canada and have driven in the right ever since (with frequent sojourns to countries that still drive on the left) I consider myself ambidextrous and adapt very quickly to either side.

Would I choose to do my first Right experience from YVR to Whistler??? Never in a million years. It is very busy and the lanes on the roads are very narrow - which as a Brit you might be used to.But still.

Vancouver, Canada
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39,573 posts
60 reviews
46 helpful votes
9. Re: Driving tips
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I was thinking that it would be easier to use Canada Line from the airport to Waterfront, then hop on the Seabus and pick up the car from an agent in Lonsdale area to avoid all that downtown mess.

10. Re: Driving tips

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