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  • Writer's pictureBedford Driver

Speed | Braking | Curves

Updated: 6 days ago


Everyone loves loves a little bit of speed once in a while but it's important to remember that the faster a person drives the less likely they will be able to spot any dangers or react to hazards around them. Speeding can have major consequences especially if a vehicle speeds through a busy area like an intersection or neighbourhood. Imagine speeding through a school zone and then hitting or injuring a pedestrian. The consequences would go further than just the law. Your insurance goes up, you lose points off of your license, you may have to go to court, and your chances of getting a job after that could be impacted. Keep it simple and don't complicate your life. Save speeding for the race track.

Ride 4

Nova Scotia Driver’s Handbook – “You should learn to control your vehicle with precision, the same way as a professional race car driver does. It is very important to begin with good instruction.”

Incredible Kevin Estre lap of the Nürburgring in the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS

You can try controlling your speed by letting off of the accelerator pedal without hitting the brake to see how the car slows. The transmission in some vehicles will slip when the driver is lightly applying the accelerator pedal which provides a bit of drag to help slow the vehicle. This also teaches you how to control your speed and it forces you to think ahead.

Stunting - Halifax Regional Police

"Police have charged two men for stunting on Highway 102 in the last two days.

Today at approximately 7:10 a.m., a member of the Traffic Unit observed a vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed on Highway 102 near Highway 118. The officer observed the vehicle’s speed at 168 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. A 54-year-old man was ticketed for stunting. Yesterday at approximately 7:20 a.m., a member of the Traffic Unit observed a vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed on Highway 102 near Hammonds Plains Road. The officer observed the vehicle’s speed at 153 km/h in a 100 km/h zone."

A 26-year-old man was ticketed for stunting. The man was also issued summary offence tickets for:

  • Operating a motor vehicle without a valid license

  • Operating a motor vehicle without valid insurance

  • Operating an unregistered vehicle

  • Displaying a plate issued for another vehicle

  • Passing on the right

Stunting is a charge under the Motor Vehicle Act that is automatically laid when a vehicle is travelling more than 50 km/h over the speed limit. The fine in Nova Scotia for stunting is $2,422.50 and six points are assigned to the driver’s record. In addition, the men are suspended from driving for seven days and the vehicle they were driving was seized.

"In a continued effort to address traffic safety issues and educate citizens on the rules of the road, our officers focus on speed enforcement. We all have a role to play in keeping our roads safe. If you see someone driving dangerously, report it to police by calling 911."

A Complete Beginners Guide On How To Drive Defensively

Driving Tips From A Cop

Speed will make you go faster but it won't get you to your destination any quicker

Vortex Generators

The pointy things on the roof of this car really had me puzzled but some friends on Instagram explained them to me and I learned that they are called vortex generators. They work similarly to a spoiler on the rear of a car. The spoiler of the car catches wind as a vehicle moves forward, which creates more down force, giving the car better traction. Vortex generators direct even more wind to the spoiler which creates even more down force. These generators combined with the spoiler are functional on all wheel drive and rear wheel drive vehicles. So when you see a 3 foot high spoiler on a front wheel drive car it's for looks and if anything, it makes the front end lighter, which can affect the steering.

Vortex generators

School Zones

You don't have to slow down to the school zone speed limit if there are no children actually OUTSIDE in the area. Make sure to check for children as you drive through a school zone area. Many people will tell you that you only have to slow down during school hours or when the children are in the school. That is completely false. If you're in a 50 km/hr zone and there are children outside in the school zone area then you slow down to 30 km/hr and if you're in a 60 km/hr zone or faster then you slow down to 50 km/hr.

This law endangers children more than it protects them because every driver on the road has a different interpretation of it. Literally all the government would have to do in order to make this law clear is change the word "present" to "outside" and drivers would understand it.

Students that I teach are always shocked to learn that the school zone speed limit law doesn't apply to high schools. They often say "we're the ones constantly distracted by our cell phones when out and about."

The school zone law confuses so many drivers that a lawyer wrote a blog to clarify the law.

Reducing your speed in a residential neighbourhood ensures that you have time to react to hazards

Children are the best pedestrians in traffic, likely because they don't have cell phones and are constantly aware of what's around them.

How To Yield

Always approach yields at a safe speed in case you have to stop for other vehicles or pedestrians. Watch for traffic that you may have to yield to while approaching the yield. If there are no cars or pedestrians in the lane you want to merge into then you don't have to yield. Approaching the yield at a reduced speed ensures that you could stop easily.


Racing driver’s braking tips for everyday driving

Braking is all about thinking ahead

  • Covering the brake pedal – You place your foot over the brake pedal and let it hover there until you're sure there is no risk of a collision.

  • Approaching intersections – Covering the brake ensures that your foot is just millimetres away if you need to make a sudden stop.

  • Early braking – Applying the brakes early ensures you stop comfortably, and in plenty of time.

In this video, an S.U.V. cuts me off after rolling through a stop sign on the Beaverbank Road. I'm always ready to apply the brake pedal and will sometimes even hover my foot over it in whenever driving through an intersection area, so this wasn't too intense. If I had hit them, the driver would have taken a direct hit on their side. You can always expect things like this to happen in traffic, especially when you see an S.U.V. in front of you. I warn new students to be extra cautious around S.U.V.'s and after they see one do something dangerous in front of them they think I have magic powers. It's not magic, it's experience. People who drive S.U.V.'s tend to think they're invincible and that they don't have to obey the rules of the road. Remember, everyone gets a driver's license.

This is what your brakes look like. When you push the brake pedal this thingy called a caliper, squeezes the rotor (the circle thingy) and that's what your wheels attach to. That's what slows the vehicle down. When your brakes start to squeak, that's your vehicle talking to you and it's telling you that your brakes require servicing. Addressing these small squeaks and noises right away will always save you money.

That circular thingy below is called a rotor. If you brake hard all the time, it will heat up. When it heats up it will become less effective. This is known as brake fade. Also, if you brake really hard all the time, you can warp your rotors. This will cause a pulsation either in your brake pedal or steering wheel and they would then have to be turned or replaced. That's one of the many reasons to be gradual and smooth when braking. On the flip side, if there's a hazard ahead of you such as a pedestrian or reckless S.U.V. driver, that's when you can and should apply the brakes as hard as you have to.

This is what a vehicle's brakes look like from the outside of the tires.

Tesla brakes
Tesla brakes

Braking Hard On Speed Bumps

When you apply the brakes while moving forward all of the kinetic energy of your vehicle goes into the front suspension of the car which causes the car to lower slightly in the front. This is why you never want to brake harshly for a speed bump or animal. If you brake to harshly for a speed bump the car could bottom out on the bump and that can cause the car to bottom out on the bump which will damage the underside of your vehicle. If you were to brake harshly for a deer it would have a much better chance of coming through the windshield because the front of the car is sitting lower in that moment.

There are a number of different types of speed bumps. There are speed bumps and then there are speed humps and sometimes speed tables. Speed tables and humps are slightly more comfortable to drive over than speed bumps. There is no set speed to go over them but I find 30 km/hr is good for most. Many times the arrows and signs marking these bumps will be missing. The lines on speed bumps in Halifax are often faded due to in part to the fact that the lines are painted directly in the path of a vehicle's tires which can quickly wear the paint off.

If you ever see one of these bumps at the last second, don't hit the brakes. If you apply the brakes on the bump the vehicle could bottom out on the bump. The next time you think of it, have a closer look at these speed bumps in your area and you'll likely notice that there are chunks of the bump missing due to vehicles bottoming out. We hit speed bumps at 50 km/hr on lessons all of the time and at first the student thinks I'm crazy until they see it's just slightly more bouncy than at a slower speed. But keep in mind that hitting speed bumps at a high speed regularly will not be good for your vehicle's suspension.

Hitting Speed Bumps Full Speed (What Will Happen?) in Slow Motion

Anti-Lock Brakes - A.B.S.

Anti-Lock brakes allow your tires to continue rolling freely and regain traction when they start to slip during heavy braking. Many driving schools are still teaching new drivers to pump their brakes when stopping suddenly. This is completely false. The computers and A.B.S. systems in ALL vehicles produced after 1996 have A.B.S. so you never have to pump your brakes anymore.

ABS | Volvo Trucks – Emergency braking

Braking Playlist


Look And Think Ahead

Never trust a curve and always approach them with extra caution. The trick to curves is to enter them just like a race car driver does. Race car drivers reduce their speed as they approach a curve, then accelerate if needed when they see the exit point.

  • Look up ahead through the turn

  • Move your eyes – glance, don’t stare

  • Scan left, centre, right

  • Scan through vehicle windows for hazards

One time a student told me a story about a crash she was involved in. Her boyfriend was driving his BMW at night in an area that they were unfamiliar with. They approached a Cloverleaf interchange in Shubenacdie at to fast of a speed then crashed into the guardrail. The BMW was wrote off but thankfully they both were uninjured. This is another reason why you have to be familiar with any area that you're driving in, especially at night. The video clip below shows the curve that they crashed in.

Never stop or pass another vehicle in a curve. That double-solid yellow line indicates that it's illegal to pass and it's there for a reason.

A driver passes illegally on the Peggy's Cove Road.

How To Handle Sharp Curves

How To Drive Through Curves And Corners

Always wear your seat belt to avoid being ejected from the vehicle.

Vehicles are flipped everyday in traffic but those accidents rarely make the news. The reason they don't make the news is because the people in those vehicles are usually wearing their seat belts so the they don't get ejected through the windshield. People that don't wear their seat belts are extremely likely to be ejected during a collision or roll over and their injuries are always more severe, and sometimes fatal.

No one was injured in this car when it rolled.

Seat Belt Pre-Tensioners

There is an explosive charge in all modern seatbelts that pulls the belt tight whenever a vehicle is in a collision. It works in tandem with the airbag.

This checkered sign warns of a dead end or sharp curve ahead. This sign is warning you to reduce your speed before the curve. When you enter a curve with too much speed you are more likely to lose control of your vehicle and crash.

Ramp speed signs are yellow which means the speed posted on them is a recommendation and is not the speed limit. These speeds are calculated by engineers, so you can trust that they're accurate.

Unsafe at any speed

Unsafe at Any Speed is primarily known for its critique of the Chevrolet Corvair, although only one of the book's eight chapters covers the Corvair. It also deals with the use of tires and tire pressure being based on comfort rather than on safety, and the automobile industry disregarding technically based criticism.

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