Saturday, October 25th8.4°C
Behind The Wheel

Crossing highway lines to park

An Osoyoos resident has asked about parking in the downtown area.  There is angle parking on both sides of the main street, and the street is marked with a double solid yellow line down the center.  He is concerned about vehicles crossing the oncoming lane to park on the left side of the street. 

When a highway is marked with a line of any type between lanes, single or double, yellow or white, broken or solid, traffic must keep to the right of it.  So how does a driver properly go to the left side of a line?

In the case of a double solid line there is only one exception, and that is when entering or leaving the highway.

In the case of a single solid or single broken line, a driver may cross over to enter or leave the highway, to pass another vehicle, or to avoid an obstacle on the highway.

Finally, there is the case of a combination of solid and broken lines.  These may be crossed to enter and leave the highway and to avoid an obstacle on the highway.  They may also be crossed to start passing when the broken line is on the right side, and to complete a pass when the broken line is on the left side.

When entering or leaving the highway across lines, a driver must do so safely and not unreasonably affect the travel of another vehicle.  When crossing lines to pass or to avoid obstacles a driver must do so in safety and must not affect the travel of another vehicle in any way.

Since taking a parking space on the left side of the highway marked with lines is not leaving or entering, avoiding an obstacle, or passing another vehicle, the move is illegal and could result in the driver being ticketed.


Notice & order #2

Over the course of my service in traffic law enforcement I saw many things that made me shake my head. Examples include a pickup truck that had a rope strung through the vent windows and tied to the windshield wipers so that they could be operated by the passenger; another pickup with black plastic tape stuck over the brake warning light so that the brightness would not bother the driver at night; and a car had no working lights on the rear because ICBC had not arranged for collision repairs yet. Admittedly, these are extreme examples but there are many vehicles on our highways that are not being properly maintained by their owners.

I had developed a routine that involved a circle from the driver's door forward around the vehicle and back again. Once completed I had a fairly good idea whether the defects were minor in nature (a box 3), worthy of an immediate tow (a box 1) or somewhere in between. That would call for a "box 2" which required that the vehicle be promptly presented at a Designated Inspection Facility. If the inspector identified defects, they had to be repaired immediately and a passed inspection report submitted to Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement within 30 days.

If the 30 day period expired without a pass report, ICBC would flag the vehicle licence record. If police subsequently found the vehicle being driven on the highway the vehicle licence and number plates could be seized and the driver issued a violation ticket with a significant penalty. The system insures that the vehicle is repaired.

Should the owner decide that it was not worth repairing the vehicle, they simply cancelled the vehicle licence, effectively removing it from the road and it could be disposed of with no further enforcement costs. If the buyer wanted to licence it, the ICBC flag remained and no vehicle related transactions would be allowed until a pass report was issued.

I liked to use this method rather than immediately issuing a violation ticket for driving a defective vehicle. It allowed the driver or owner to spend the money that would have gone to the ticket on the inspection and repair process and I was assured that vehicle maintenance would be done.

"New" winter tire rules for BC

On October 1, 2014 the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced "new" winter tire rules for British Columbia. The changes are part of the Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review conducted by the Ministry about one year ago when BC residents were asked to express their opinion. From the information provided to me, it appears that the only thing that has changed is the signage beside the highway.

In past, the signs required winter tires with sufficient tread or carrying a set of tire chains for all vehicles that passed them. Now the signs simply require winter tires that are marked with either the mountain and snowflake symbol or M+S for light vehicles and that heavier commercial vehicles carry tire chains.

I'm confused when I look at the sign because it appears to say that heavier commercial vehicles are not required to use winter tires. Shouldn't it say use winter tires and carry chains under the picture if they were? The distinction is important because the law requires that the Minister must give public notice or place signs before winter tires are required. The signs must be unambiguous.

Regardless of all of this, if you really want proper traction to maximize acceleration, braking and cornering the best answer is matching winter tires bearing the mountain and snowflake symbol on all wheels. Some tires marked M+S may comply with the law but could provide significantly less protection. It is worth taking the time to explore your options with a knowledgeable tire supplier before the last minute.


The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit

The boss won't fix it!

It is not uncommon for police to stop a defective vehicle and be told, "The boss said drive it." The employee is at a disadvantage, he has to drive to keep his job but he is also liable for driving the defective vehicle. While the employee cannot be absolved for the deficiencies, the boss is equally responsible in law.
The Motor Vehicle Act makes the registered owner a party to the offence committed by the employee, servant, agent or worker, or anyone entrusted by him with the possession of the vehicle when the offence is related to equipment or maintenance. This makes the employer personally liable to the same penalty as the driver. It does not remove the responsibility of the driver if action is taken by police against the owner for the violation.
Certain commercial vehicles are required to make pre and post trip inspections on a daily basis. The employee doing the inspection must record defects in the trip inspection report, regardless of the fact that they might feel it does no good. Carrier safety audits could be triggered by maintenance concerns and the result of the audit could mean the loss of the company's safety certificate, effectively ending it's ability to operate vehicles on the highway.
It is good practice for the rest of us to do a critical item inspection before we set out on our daily drive. The time spent is minimal and the gain in safety is certainly worthwhile.
The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit

Read more Behind the Wheel articles

About the author...

Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years in his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP. It was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and now Schewe retired from the Force in January of 2006, but the column became a habit and continues.

E-mail him your questions or concerns: [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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