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  • Writer's pictureBedford Driver

Shoulder Checks And Vulnerable Road Users

Updated: 6 days ago

Shoulder Checks

A shoulder check is just a quick glance to the rear side of your vehicle in the direction that you're moving to and it ensures that your blind spots are clear of any hazards. The blind spot of a vehicle is located at the rear both sides. New drivers are usually nervous to do shoulder checks because they involve turning your head while holding the steering wheel in its current position as the vehicle is moving forward, which is not natural for your brain. Make sure to only turn your head and not your whole body in order to avoid accidentally pulling the steering wheel.

In these images I can't see my blind spot from the driver's seat. But if I quickly glance over my shoulder I can see everything in the blind spot.

Never Rely Only On Your Side Mirrors

The side mirrors of a vehicle don't show the blind spot unless they're adjusted much further outward than normal. Most motorists, including me, keep their mirrors adjusted slightly inward, but if the side mirrors are adjusted all the way outward the way engineers designed them to be used, then a driver would technically see all of their blind spot. But there are many other reasons to shoulder check even if the side mirrors are adjusted all the way out. When another motorist is speeding passed you it's very easy to miss them in your side mirror in that split second that they're passing by. Never rely solely on your side mirrors. Casey The Car Guy explains how to properly adjust the side mirrors of a vehicle in the video below.

I highly recommend that you follow Casey The Car Guy on YouTube. He is a professional race car driver who is an expert on all aspects of driving.

Bad Drivers 2022 (most of these crashes are due to drivers not shoulder checking)

Just like in contact sports shoulder checks are everything!

Would you skate down the ice while playing hockey without checking around you? Of course not because you would get smoked by another player. Hockey players always have their heads on a swivel because they know that their are hazards (other players) all around them that they may not see coming.

Shoulder checks are also important when driving in downtown Halifax or other busy urban areas. Pedestrians can walk into your left or right blind spots while you're watching cars and waiting to turn. The very last thing that you do before turning or making a lane change is to check your blind spot in the direction you're moving or turning to by quickly glancing over your shoulder out of the rear side window. Pedestrians can appear out of no where and most of them don't pay attention to their surroundings. They're usually staring at their phones when crossing the street, which believe it or not, is completely legal.

How To Drive In Downtown Halifax

How To Check Your Blind Spot

Shoulder Checks and Vulnerable Road Users

Motorcyclists know better than anyone how important it is to shoulder check.

If you don't think that shoulder checks are important then you should go to YouTube and look at videos of motorcycle riders and cyclists. They shoulder check religiously to ensure they always know what hazards are around them. Motorcyclists and cyclists spend most of their time on the road avoiding drivers who don’t shoulder check, and their heads are always on a swivel.


Cyclists will often be in your blind spot when you make a rolling turn, and they often ride as fast as we drive. The most common way for cyclists to get hurt or killed is by drivers turning right without shoulder checking their right blind spot. That's what they call a "right hook". You can see in the video below that if we were to turn right, the cyclist would be in danger of getting hit by our car. Always take your time when passing a cyclist or when doing a rolling turn.

Shoulder check like someone's life depends on it. 👁️

Purcell's Cove Road propane truck crash kills 49-year-old cyclist

Cyclist Post On Facebook

“I want to pass a good experience this evening. I was on almond street heading home from the Chain of lake trail. It was around 4 pm. A black truck pick up with a gentleman was driving . He was behind me I was trying to ride pretty fast not to hold him up. We got to shopper’s I was going straight he was turning. He never tried to pass me a few did close but not him. When we were both at the light I said thanks so much for staying back and not trying to pass in tight spots. He said my safety was more important than that . My heart warmed when he said that I thank him. What a great guy.”

Cyclists really appreciate it when drivers check their right shoulder before making a turn. One of my students is a cyclist. He told me on his first lesson that he didn’t understand the point of shoulder checks. Then, he was nearly run over by a driver who didn't check their right shoulder before turning. Then on the very next lesson he said “I understand shoulder checks now”.

Big trucks will can sometimes be fitted with wheel guards so that if the truck turns right and hits a cyclist they don’t end up under the wheels of the truck.

Pedestrians And Crosswalks

Pedestrians and anyone not in a motor vehicle are considered vulnerable road users because they don't have anything around them to protect them. Always yield to them even if they're not in a crosswalk. Also, when a pedestrian J-walks we still have to yield to them.

Crosswalks And Intersections At Night In Downtown Halifax

At crosswalks there are lights that pedestrians are supposed to use before crossing. However not all pedestrians will use them. Many will be staring at their phones, so be extra cautious at all times.

Truck Collides With A Pedestrian Near Mumford Road In Halifax

In this video a student spots a pedestrian at the crosswalk at the last second and they do the right thing by braking hard to ensure that they don't hit them.

A car fails to yield to a pedestrian on Spring Garden Road

Look Ahead For Pedestrians Approaching Crosswalks

Be mindful of puddles when you're driving near a crosswalk or pedestrian on a rainy day. The splash of water from your vehicle hitting the puddle could soak them and ruin their day.

I spotted this pedestrian in Fairview a couple years ago.

Scooters and E-Bikes

There are a lot of scooters and e-bikes in traffic now ever since Covid. Everyday I see new road users on all sorts of different vehicles, including seniors. The roads are now filled with vulnerable road users. Always give these road users extra space when driving around them. They literally have nothing protecting the.

Truck driver charged after elderly woman on scooter hit in Halifax crosswalk

A Complete Beginners Guide On How To Drive Defensively

Halifax's worst drivers 2016 - Part 1

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