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  • Writer's pictureBedford Driver

Emergencies | Weather Events | Infrastructure

Updated: 5 days ago


During an emergency your adrenaline will become elevated but remember staying calm is always the best thing to do in these situations. Adrenaline does not mix well with emergency situations because it affects a person's judgement. It is however natural for a person's adrenaline to spike during an emergency or critical situation. The best thing to do when you’re not sure what to do during an emergency is call 911. They deal with this stuff everyday and can coach you through anything.

BLOCKED VISION - If your hood opens suddenly or your vision through the windshield becomes blocked you can open the side window so that you can see the road. Always close the hood of your car firmly!

How to close a hood properly

Car Hood Flies Open While Driving

FIRE If you see smoke come from under the hood pull off the road and park your vehicle. Get away from the car and call 911.

Vehicle Fire In Shubenacadie Nova Scotia

Vehicle fire in Truro Nova Scotia

Never try to drive through an area where there is a lot of smoke. The smoke can be thick and could blind you as you attempt to drive through the area.

Porters Lake forest fire April 2020

If you ever get locked in the trunk of a modern vehicle there is a glow in the dark trunk latch release that will help them to escape.

This secret glow in the dark handle can be found in the trunk or every vehicle.

GOING INTO WATER – A vehicle will normally float for a while and you should have time to remove yourself before it starts to sink. Release your seat belt and escape through a window. If the vehicle sinks before you can remove yourself get into the back seat. An air pocket can form there as the weight of the engine pulls the vehicle down front first. When the vehicle settles take a breath and escape through a window. Use anything you can find to smash the window and remember when it breaks that water will come rushing in. The metal part of your seat belt or your headrest or even your cell phone can be used to break the glass and escape.


Dump Truck Backs Into Halifax Harbour

360-degree video! Escaping the submerged car

Handy items to have in your vehicle for emergencies

  • Tool kit

  • Tire compressor or can of flat fix

  • Non-perishable food and water

  • Roadside flares or warning lights

  • Cell phone charger

  • Flashlight with spare batteries (most cell phones have one)

  • First-aid kit

  • Tire replacement tools like jack and lug wrench. Remember that many newer vehicles no longer come with spare tires. Vehicle manufacturers claim it's all about saving the environment :)

  • Booster cables

  • Extra windshield wash

  • A reflective vest or jacket

Never let a vehicle run inside of a closed space such as a garage. The fumes are lethal and you will not see or smell them until it is too late.

Carbon Monoxide

Generator Safety Tips

Generators can be a helpful backup power source during outages, but they must be installed and operated safely. All generators must be installed by a qualified electrician. The electrician must apply for a wiring permit and have the generator inspected by Nova Scotia Power before it is used. See a list of qualified electricians and book an appointment with a Nova Scotia Power wiring inspector.

Nova Scotia Power outage map

Electrical Awareness

Treat downed wires as live and dangerous. If you’re near a wire, shuffle (keeping both feet touching the ground) until you are at least 20 meters away from the wires and call 911. Stay in the vehicle if at all possible. Do not touch the ground or anything outside the vehicle. Staying in the vehicle is always the first choice but if you must exit because of other circumstances such as a fire then you need to jump clear with both feet together while not touching any other part of the vehicle. Again, when in doubt call 911!

The 'weather bomb' that struck Nova Scotia

Hurricane Dorian Hits Halifax Nova Scotia

A huge weatherbomb storm hit Nova Scotia in early 2018 and it completely obliterated the road at Queensland Beach.

Queensland Beach

Powerful Nor Easter Winter Storm Slams Nova Scotia

Lights-Out at Intersections

Be super paranoid in these situations as the intersection becomes a 4-way stop and many motorists will not stop.

Lights Out At Intersections; Stay frosty

Emergency Health Services - Vehicle Flagging

During major storms where multiple vehicles are off of the road and in a ditch, emergency responders will wrap blue tape around those vehicles to indicate that they have already dealt with those accidents.

Never stop on a highway shoulder

Never ever stop on the shoulder of the highway unless it is a legit emergency such as a threat to human life. Many drivers are not paying attention and could easily drift over and onto the shoulder and hit you. If your car breaks down get your stuff and get away from the side of the highway and then call for help.

Emergencies Playlist

Emergencies and Weather Events

The weather in Nova Scotia is becoming more unstable and the storms we get have levelled up compared to the ones we've seen previously. When a storm hits the ocean begins to hurl large waves toward our shores. When roads are built close to the ocean's shore, it can become an issue as the waves can make it onto the road. This becomes compounded at high tide as the waves can make it even further onto the road.

Lawrencetown Beach

Huge Seawall In Yarmouth Nova Scotia

The Aftermath Of A 2017 Storm

Removing paint markings

"Drivers change their behavior because they no longer feel that they have their own lane, so they tend to be more attentive. It does also reduce their driving time because they all become a little bit more aware of people around them. White lines along the center of roads have been removed in parts of the UK, with some experts saying it encourages motorists to slow down."

Australia just leveled up their highways in a big way with glow in the dark paint.

Watermain break in Bedford Nova Scotia

Bedford Nova Scotia Floods

Bedford Nova Scotia Flooding

Driving through a flood in Dartmouth Crossing

Flooding in Halifax Nova Scotia

Massive sinkhole in Oxford Nova Scotia

How Are Highways Designed?

Highway Design

I went down a deep engineering rabbit hole on highway design. Don't worry, I'm taking notes so that you won't end up in the same hole. Understanding how and why a road is designed the way it is will make you a better driver.

  • The profile of the road refers to how the road is sloped or how steep it is.

  • A cross section runs perpendicular across the road.

  • A crowned road has a rounded cross section. A crowned road will shed water more easily than a flat road.

  • Super elevation is the term used to refer to the elevation of a curve.

  • The faster the design speed of a road the higher the bank or elevation.

  • The radius of a curve refers to how sharp the curve is.

  • The tighter the radius of a curve the more centrifugal force that will be required to maintain traction.

  • A curve or "curved section" will usually have a sloped profile which helps a vehicle maintain better traction by reducing the amount of load on the tires while in a curve and increasing centrifugal force of the vehicle.

  • When designing a road engineers consider many different factors like speed, obstacles, safety, and traffic.

  • Speed limits are determined by the geometry of the road.

  • The 3 main considerations when designing a road are the profile, cross section, and alignment.

  • All of these factors are what create friction and friction is what gives a vehicle traction.

  • Banked curves are more comfortable for the people in the vehicle because they push you further into your seat instead of pulling you to the outside. They also reduce the risk of a roll over by reducing the vehicle's center of gravity.

  • Sight distance and field of view are also considered when designing a curve to ensure drivers can safely see around the bend.

  • The entry and exit points of a curve are referred to as the transition sections. This is where drivers transition from their current speed and adjust to enter or exit the curve by adjusting their speed.

  • If a curve has too much of a turning radius (too sharp) then a vehicle's headlights will not be as effective because headlights light the area directly in front of the vehicle and don't compensate for the curve.

  • There is no one single standard for how a road is designed. It varies by province or state.

  • Engineers recommend what the speed of a road should be but they do not have final say when deciding what the speed limit will be.


What is a pothole? What do you do if you see or hit one? Will the government reimburse you for damages to your vehicle caused by a pothole?

The formation of a pothole happens in steps

Asphalt roads are the most popular solution around the world due to the low cost. Asphalt is known as a flexible pavement because it does not distribute weight across a large area as with concrete. After the deterioration of the surface layer, or first layer cracks begin to form. When cracks form, they allow water to seep under the surface layer and into the Base Course. The water will usually get trapped here and eventually wear through and deteriorate the Sub Grade. This is made worse when temperatures drop below freezing causing the water to freeze and expand. This frozen water is referred to as an ‘Ice Lens’.

The 3 Layers

  • 1st layer Asphalt

  • 2nd layer Base Course

  • 3rd layer Sub-grade

Highway 103 Timberlea Bayers Lake Area

The area of Highway 103 inbound driving towards Halifax has been falling apart for years. In 2022 the Nova Scotia government repaired the road but months later it fell apart again. The issue with this area is the road is rutted significantly where a vehicle's tires ride. This causes standing water to accumulate in the lane which increases the chances of hyrodplaning. The speed limit in this area is 110 km/hr but I recommend reducing your speed in this area to 100 km/hr if the weather conditions are bad. This area is located just after the Timberlea Parkway which is also another notorious stretch of road. Some parents in the area don't even allow their kids to drive on this road because it too is falling apart and is also known for black ice in the winter. Drive especially careful in these areas. See the article below and the video.

2 dead, 2 seriously injured in crash on Nova Scotia’s Highway 103

Two-vehicle crash results in injuries on Nova Scotia highway

Highway 103 craters – Winter 2021

Highway 103 craters – Winter 2021 video

N.S. Public Works – How to File a Claim for Vehicle or Property Damage Potholes, flooding, and other hazards

"If you have incurred damage to your vehicle or property and you believe the province may be responsible, you can submit a claim to the Insurance and Risk Management, Department of Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services, for consideration. Compensation is paid when an investigation finds that the province was negligent in their duties and that negligence resulted in your damage. In other words, when the province is found legally liable for the damage sustained. However, you are expected make efforts to minimize damage to your property. If you do not, you may be held responsible for part of the damage cost."

What is the claim investigation process?

All claims are investigated and reviewed by qualified, internal insurance adjusters. They determine the extent to which, if any, the province may be liable for the damage. Each claim is investigated and considered on its individual facts. We gather information from you, department staff, any third parties who may be witness to the incident, and those who may have been carrying out work at or near the site of the incident.

Deadline: within 30 days – Submit your claim within 30 days of the incident to ensure that your claim meets the notice requirement. Use our Claim Form and send evidence to support your claim such as photos or video.

Submit your claim by email, fax, or surface mail:

902-424-2325 (fax)


Monday to Friday

8:30 am–4:30 pm

Insurance & Risk Management

PO Box 2205

Halifax, NS B3J 3C4

N.S. Public Works

Climate change is expected to have impacts on:

Coastlines: Nova Scotia is particularly sensitive to coastal impacts. Most of our population lives along the coastline and much of our infrastructure is located in vulnerable areas. In many cases, that infrastructure was designed to withstand weather events less extreme and less frequent than what we now expect.

Fresh water: We can expect increased demand for water and increased competition for it. Nova Scotia’s supplies of fresh water may be at greater risk of salt contamination from rising sea levels, pollution from runoff caused by heavy rains and snow, and parasites drawn to warmer water temperatures.

Business: Not all impacts will be negative: warmer conditions may present opportunities for industries such as tourism and agriculture. Industries that benefit in some areas, however, will likely have to manage new challenges: protecting public and private infrastructure and making climate sensitive industries, like forestry, resilient to climate variability and extremes.

N.S. Public Works – How to report a hazard

Contact us immediately, 7 days a week, to report a hazard:

potholes, washouts, fallen tree branches, objects on the road, flooding

TIR Operations Contact Centre (OCC)


Halifax’s Pothole Reporting Page

How Do Potholes Work?

Preventing Potholes

Each time a vehicle hits a pothole, it disperses water from the pothole and the water carries particles of the dirt and asphalt with it causing the pothole to gradually grow. When cracks form in asphalt pavement, they are sealed to keep the water out. Concrete roadways don’t suffer from the same pothole issues as asphalt but are much more expensive to build.


How To Drive Over The Bridges In Halifax Nova Scotia

The Big Lift - MacDonald Bridge Halifax


Cool Student Driver stickers now available

One of my students recently experienced a road rage incident while practicing. These stickers keep other drivers behind you chill while you're trying to learn. You would be amazed at how many drivers respond positively to these stickers and sometimes will follow even further back.