Tips to avoid traffic in Vancouver BC

Over the past two decades, the density of population in Vancouver has increased exponentially with the wave of immigrants settling down in Metro Vancouver, BC.  With an increase of people comes an increase in traffic on the roads.

In this article we’ll explore a few strategies on navigating through Metro Vancouver efficiently, avoiding as much traffic as possible.  Finding the best route through the city could be the difference between your trip taking 20 minutes versus a full hour.

Be in the know before you go

Before you head out onto the street,  it’s a good idea to check what the traffic situation is like in the city.  There are a couple of ways to do this.  First, you could check the two local traffic stations that monitor Metro Vancouver.  “All Traffic All The Time” is AM730’s slogan.  This is probably your best source of traffic news on the radio, since traffic is all they do.   The next radio station is AM1130, which gives the traffic every 10 minutes on the ones.
Aside from radio stations you can also get a number of smartphone apps that provide traffic information.   Just do a quick search in your smartphone’s App Store to find any appropriate apps.  If your phone plan does not include data,  you may need to find some Wi-Fi to get updated information from the app.   the benefit to using an app is that you’ll often be able to see where all the traffic jams are on a map.   Google Maps is another great app that will not only show you the traffic,  but can also act as a GPS and help you navigate to your destination.

High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes

One of the biggest time-savers on the road are  high-occupancy vehicle Lanes, or HOV lanes.   It’s not always convenient to carpool, but sometimes I can save you a ton of time, letting you skip by large traffic jams.   Don’t have anyone to carpool with?   You might not be entirely out of luck.   Not many people know that electric vehicles may be eligible to drive in HOV lanes, even if there’s just one person inside.  It’s as simple as applying for it.   If you are eligible for it, you will receive unofficial decal that you place on your windshield.  Some of the HOV lanes that will save you the most amount of time, are on
Highway 99 going northbound towards the George Massey Tunnel,
going Southbound on Highway 99 between Westminster Highway and the George Massey Tunnel,
Heading to North Vancouver on Highway 1 (trans Canada Highway)

Avoid driving during rush hour

Some of us have more flexible schedules than others.   For those that have a little more choice in the times that we head out onto the roads,  choosing to go out when the roads are not busy is a sure-fire way to avoid getting stuck in traffic. This could mean leaving an hour earlier than you normally would, or leaving an hour later when everyone else has arrived at work or at home.  This could also mean changing up your work time entirely.   If you work a morning shift, working a night shift will almost wipe out your chances of getting stuck in traffic completely.

Don’t create traffic

Prevention is a great tool.   Keeping your car maintained and in good working condition will ensure that you don’t find yourself on the side of the road requiring roadside assistance.   if something does go wrong with your car,  be sure to pull off of the road as much as possible so that your vehicle does not create a traffic jam.   This will keep traffic going as well as enable the roadside assistance company to get to you efficiently.  City Tow Truck is one of the highest rated towing companies in Vancouver and they are a good company to call, should you ever have a flat tire, run out of gas, need to be towed to your mechanic, or if you see another vehicle that is blocking traffic and needs help.  They can be reached at (604) 670-7100.

Set aside ample travel time

The likelyhood of car accidents goes up significantly with increased driver stress.  Drivers get stressed when time is short and there’s more traffic than expected. Always budget more than enough time and increase your expectations of traffic.  With plenty of time to get to your destination, you’ll be able to drive calmly and reduce your chances of getting into an accident.  You may get to where you’re going sooner.  If so, prepare something to be productive with so that you’re not only minimizing your stress, but you’re not wasting time either.  The same goes for parking.  When you’re stressed you may go with the first parking spot you can find, which may be a lot more expensive than other areas nearby.  Or, you may skip paying for parking entirely just to save yourself 2 minutes. Not paying for parking can result in a parking ticket and/or getting your car towed away, both of which could have been prevented by just setting aside a few extra minutes for travel time.  If you do happen to find that you vehicle has been towed, see this page for information on claiming your vehicle back.

Enjoy the ride

There’s only so much that we can do to avoid traffic jams.   For the times that we do get stuck on the road, you can make the choice to enjoy the time that you are going to be in the car instead of focusing on all the traffic and feeling stressed about it.   You can be productive even while you’re in the car.   Listening to audiobooks is a fantastic option.   Audiobooks are hands-free, enjoyable and educational.  Good luck and be safe on the roads!