Driving in Edmonton, Edmonton
Edmonton hasn't always been as bad as it is today about 10 years ago it was almost the opposite of what it is today some conjestion around rush hour but then people started flocking here more and more and here we are. Most drivers here suffer from obsessive ignorance and serious entitlement issues. I drive laps of Edmonton daily and I can safely say not many understand he concept of slower traffic keep right on the highways. Through the city if you signal and wait you're turn most people will let you in if you hit the shoulder and try to skip the line you may find yourself left to wait. Expect people to try to cut in front of you only to slam on their brakes to stop and turn even if there is a huge gap in traffic behind you. Regardless of you're plans if you dont need to be on the road Friday from 4-6 DO NOT DO IT it is a mistake. Also rush hour on parts of he south side aren't as bad as the north end and St.Albert area at rush hour is the worst it gets because here isn't many routes to St Albert that aren't shared by stony plain and spruce grove routes. As for the cutting people off and them shooting you business no that has never happened I've been here almost 30 yrs I have however had my door kicked in cause someone cut me off...(go figure no retaliation was involved on my part) but no one will shoot you for that. As a rule of thumb I assume people will do anything to avoid being at fault and will go the same lengths to make sure of the opposite(you tend to notice people who want a free vehicle when you drive a decaled work truck here)
Before coming to Edmonton you must learn the rules about our fine city.
1. Our airport is in the middle of nowere (~15 minutes outside) with only one highway leading into the city. (Unlike Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles etc.. were numerous ways out of the airport can lead you to the city)
2. That highway (AB 2) gets very icy in the winter. (With lots of curves)
3. From the airport, know what lane you need to be in. (ie. Far right= Gateway BLVD, Middle Lane= Anthony Henday East, Far Left= Anthony Henday West)
4. Lights in Edmonton are very short at some intersections and green means speed, yellow means speed up and red means floor it.
5. Although we have a $172 distracted driving law, most people just hide their cell phones in their jackets when their radar detectors light up.
6. Most vehicles are probably not road worthy (we have no inspections for vehicles already registered in Alberta)
7. That pothole probably is deeper than it looks
8. Certain roads have been under construction for inexcess of three years.
9. If travelling on the north leg (or east) of the Anthony Henday, if it looks like the road is different, follow the traffic or you'll end up on a road without enough room to make a u-turn (or end up in the river)
10. Never cut a Timmies drive thru line even to get to the other side.
11. Parking downtown is expensive, but only park in a lot to ensure safety.
12. Downtown or around the Leg on the weekends may be difficult to drive because of walks, rallies or peacful protests.
13. Don't cut people off in their lane (or squeeze into their lane) because you will be honked out.
14. Have a working horn, but use it sparingly and to someone who does'nt look like they can beat you up
15. If taking cab to the airport, it is probably cheaper to rent a car.
16. Despite the name, an Airport Cab cannot take you to the airport
17. Only an Airport Cab can take you from the airport.
18. Eat before flying to the U.S., only one restaurant!
19. You MUST clear U.S. Customs and boarder protection in Edmonton, not in the U.S.
20. If the hotel looks safe, it probably is, but be careful around Calgary Trail (stick with large chains)
21. If taking the Whitemud, you will probably say **** the Quesnel (a bridge that has been under construction for years, only to finish to bottlenecks and traffic nightmares)
22. If on out lying areas, it gets dark here!
23. Do NOT use your highbeams on the AB 2 (QE II) to the airport, you will get a ticket
24. Stay Alert when driving, to avoid an accident
25. It's pronounced Ed mun ton, not Dea mon ton, not Ed Mon Ton, not Ed Min Ton, Ed MUN TON!
One thing I have noticed during my stay in Edmonton, was that folks here drive in the left hand lane of the highways - slowly. Is the law here 'keep right except to pass' like other provinces, or is that not a law here? I have seen emergency vehicles struggle to get through the left hand lane which are clogged by slow moving vehicles. Also everyone here seems to be texting or talking on a phone while driving. Why such bad drivers here?
My son was rear-ended while sitting at a red light. Sadly, he did not get the name of the insurance company of the guy who hit him from behind. All other information was exchanged. As required by Alberta law, my son went and reported the accident. However, the driver of the other vehicle has elected not to report..... we think. After several trips to the police station we now get 2 different versions: Yes he did, and no he has not yet come in. Until he comes in on his own, the police say there is nothing they can do. Although, the police did say after three days, the other driver will be charged with Hit and Run. Even with this, it seems that the police will not go after this guy. We are now into day 16..... no action til now. As I understand it, the charge will be in the "system".... and if, or when, this guys should get pulled over for any reason, then he could be charged. So at this time, my son will have to pay for his repairs on his own..... even though the name and plate number of the other driver is known. Typically in Edmonton, police do not show up on scene unless it is an injury accident or if a vehicle is obstructing traffic. Otherwise it could hours to arrive IF they respond. I would recommend to anyone getting into any kind of accident here to report it as an injury accident right away. It will get priority and you can be sure the reports will be done in a timely manner correctly right at the scene in case one party bolts after, as in this case. Also rememeber: just because someone produces paperwork, doesn't mean it's theirs nor current. The vehicle could be stolen.... thus you could be dealing with an unpredictable thief. Best is to get the police involved ASAP right at the scene.
Be very careful in Edmonton Traffic. There is a very interesting mix of passive / aggressive driver attitude everywhere.... including the foot traffic. I have a job that takes me everywhere in North America.... Edmonton is clearly the winner of poor drivers. The basic rules of not changing lanes in an intersection, entering an intersection without being able to exit the intersection, parking left of center (and passing left of center). Stopping rules such as the basic 2-way vs 4-way are not understood nor complied to. The basic "driver to the right has right a way" (intersection) is not understood nor adhered to. Also, Edmonton's Civil Engineers do some interesting things that are not done elsewhere in North America-leading to further confusion. The police "seem" to becoming passive as well.... I know the justice system has restricted them as well... but it seems they have given up to a degree. People do the things they do because they can. That's the bottom line. If you consider all modes of transportstion: Air, Sea, Rail, and Road transport (cars).... the only way they keep the sytems moving well is by operating them in a UNIFIED MANNER. All operators operate nearly the same way. The Rules of the Road are intended to do the same thing. This is the safest, easiest, and quickest way to operate a very complex system such as a city streets. And yet, the private automobile has become one of the most common ways to express individuality... and a common place to express thier daily frustrations. Edmonton drivers need to get back to learning the rules, and these rules need to be enforced. And most of all, Edmonton drivers need to understand that driving is a complex operation within a complex system that's not to be taken to lightly. As it is now, getting into trafffic has become like getting shot off the end of an aircraft carrier to fly a sortie in hostile territory. You never know where the next bogie is.
Edmonton has some of the rudest and most ignorant drivers in the country. They don't let you in and they think that the speed limit isn't more than a suggestion. Everybody drives pick-ups and 90% don't know how to drive them. Edmonton also has tons of seniors who drive on the highways 20 under the limit. Watch out for North Central Edmonton and be sure to lock your doors. People also come up and tap on your windows at stop lights asking for money. Watch out for those red light cameras. They send you a ticket if your even over the stop line and out of the intersection (stopped). They also catch speeders during green lights. Parking is crazy too. You park at the end of a parking lot away from everybody else and they will park next to you with the entire parking lot empty. Heck even the police speed here!
One message: DONT DRIVE IN EDMONTON
Subaru Outback with a crazy turban wearing muslim dude driving like crazy! It's January 8, 2011 we just got 30cm of snow in 24 hours, the roads are covered in snow and this dude is still speeding, and taking turns at high speeds (nearly missing me when I was standing on a red light @ Callingwood road and 172 st.)
I guess he couldn't wait to get to the mosque, what an idiot!
I agree with the majority of the folks on here, Edmonton has some seriously bad and dangerous drivers. I am from the East Coast, been here 4 years and I gotta say...wow.
Talk about some aggressive drivers. I comute each day from Leduc to Edmonton and not a day goes by that I don't get cut off. The QE II is like a giant game of Frogger... On speed.
If you dare to do the limit you get beeped at, glared at, and flipped off. Tailgaters are expected. I have driven in New York, Quebec, California, Las Vegas.... Edmonton have the worst and rudest drivers ever!
I always thought that Edmonton was a very unfriendly place but once again the wonderful people on city council are proving it, I live out of town, but I drive to the city daily to work
I ride my motorcycle into the city whenever the weather allows, with all the distracted & self absorbed drivers that this city has to offer its remarkable that more riders aren’t killed driving here.
You can do whatever you want in your vehicle, coffee, smoke, text, talk on your phone; apply makeup as long as some nut on a motorcycle doesn’t disturb you.
Since the city of Edmonton doesn't want motorcycles in the city limits then anyone wanting a nice ride should avoid the quiet serenity of the city limits at all cost, take a drive in the country & support the communities that support the motorcycle lifestyle. We don’t have to support any of the charity rides within the city limits, until the city is more motorcycle friendly.
Anyone coming to Alberta for a motorbike ride, avoid Edmonton you are not welcome there, but please ride everywhere else & enjoy the beauty that the rest of Alberta has to offer.
Enjoy the freedom that riding brings & take the time to enjoy the view, but as always watch out for those who won't watch out for you, #1 reason for running into a rider
" I never seen them"
If you want to rent a car in Edmonton, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE PROPER TIRES. Winter tires in winter- would you like to be sliding backwards on a hill because you don't have enough traction? No? Well, it happens to a lot of Edmontonians who should know better.
REMEMBER WINTER TIRES.
They don't use their indicator lights. They honk at you if you drive within the speed limit. No body seems to follow it. Most motorists are just to in a hurry to get to the next stop light. Very few are courteous to pedestrians. Not a place to drive if you are civilised.
In general-Edmonton drivers are pretty bad.Signal lights are regularily left unused, shoulder checks are unheard of.Road ragers abound in Edmonton, but you are unlikely to get shot- just screamed at or tailgated or threatened.Be careful of tailgaters in general. No one realizes that in Alberta you are supposed to leave roughly a metre in sight from behind the back tires of a car in front of you and your front end .If you havent floored the gas by 1 sec after a light turns green some psycho behind you already has his horn blasting .I'd say more drivers here are passive- agressive rather than courteous!They do things like cutting you off, slamming on their brakes to scare you and driving right next to a car in front of you so you cannot pass.
In Edmonton there are speed limits posted quite visibly, yet while driving the speed limits you will find many people honking and extending middle fingers to you.I suppose speed limits were only posted as a guidline, not as a rule in Edmonton.Strange.Downtown driving is beyond heinous. If I was to visit there again, I wouldn't drive downtown.The one ways have no pattern to them, unlike Calgary who has a one way every second block.Beware of parking troubles in the core, bring coins for meters and or lots.And DO NOT leave anything in your car thats visible to thieves.If people hear a car alarm, they ignore it and keep going about their business.
I believe that Edmonton is the only (or one of the few) cities in North America that have traffic circles.
When approaching the circle:
-yield to the cars that are already in the circle
-enter the circle from the right lane if you intend to go "right" (first exit) or "straight" (2nd exit)
-enter the circle from the left lane if you intend to go "straight" (2nd exit) or "left" (3rd exit)
There is also one traffic cirlce that has controlled lights, but the same rules apply.
Edmonton and Calgary have the worst vehicle accident rates in the country. There are many explanations, but it all boils down to - people here are very bad drivers. And really, it's not so much the danger of driving here as the annoyance of dealing with idiots.
Sure, like everywhere else, there are the aggressive drivers and the really stupid ones (stop in the middle of the road to let a passenger off). But what makes this a more dangerous/annoying place to drive is the fact that these ubiquitous aggressive drivers and stupid drivers are mixed with a disproportionately large number of overly courteous drivers.
These 'courteous' drivers make an extra effort to be courteous to the people they see. What they do not realize is that they pose a BIG hazard to people they do not see, usually from behind. Worse yet is that they are usually self-righteous, and have no desire to change their ways
Eg, Jaywalker stands by the road waiting for it to clear. Courteous Driver sees pedestrian, slams on brakes, stops. Meanwhile, cars in the other 3 lanes of traffic keep going because it's not a crosswalk, and cars behing Courteous Driver almost hit him/her. Jaywalker looks at Courteous Driver with incredulous look, before he/she finally gets it and moves on. Yes, I have been the Jaywalker before, and also the car behind.
Obviously this is something that really annoys me!
So combine these self-righteous morons with the fact that people in general don't know the rules (erring on the side of gross traffic inefficiencies) and the cities are too cheap for road upkeep (or clear of snow in the winter) while providing horrible public transit, thereby necessitating everyone and his children to drive (driving age=16).
So, are you sure you wanna drive in Alberta?
Oh right, you can't get anywhere without a car.. Well, I hope you don't have a road rage problem!
Once you've accustomized yourself, check out my travelogue on drives around Edm, for my picks of the few roads that stands out in this monotonous grid.
Beware, try not to drive to here during any holiday long weekend. The highway traffic is bad and drivers get impatient. We got into an accident 27 kilm before our destination and back logged us by 7 hours, both lanes shut down. Roads here are only single lanes, bad considering this is one of the main arteries between Alberta and British Columbia.