Posted by: safedriver | September 14, 2010

One way or two way?

Sometimes we’re in so much of a hurry that we make poor choices in our life. As an example, how many of you have locked your keys in the car when you arrived late for an appointment? I used to carry a spare key in my wallet for times like that. But how can you be in such a hurry to not know you’re turning the wrong way onto a one way street; especially on a busy Saturday morning?

So let’s say you’re new to the area and you’re about to turn onto a strange street. How do you know it’s a one way street? When I’m teaching new drivers at Young Drivers of Canada, I explain and show them three ways to identify they’re on a one way street.

The easiest way to identify you’re about to enter a one way street is the one way street sign. Yeah, I know…that was too easy, but not easy enough for this driver. However, you never find what you’re not looking for.

If you’re on a multiple lane one way street, you’ll only have white lines that separate traffic lanes. Since yellow lines divide traffic in two different directions, you won’t see any yellow lines on any one way street.

The third way to identify that you’re on a one way street is all of the road signs, on both sides of the road, are facing you. I’m referring to the parking and no parking signs. If it was a two way street, you would see the signs on the right side facing you, but you would see the back of the signs on the left side of the road. That way they would be facing the drivers coming in the opposite direction. If you see the back of the sign on BOTH sides of the road, you better hurry up and turn off that road or turn around because you’re driving the wrong way!

Luckily there was a local police officer close by in this situation to pull them over before a collision occurred. I was also glad that I was passing by with my camera!



  1. I teach 6 ways of recognizing a 1 way from a 2 way street.

    1. Signs all facing you.
    2. Traffic lights only facing you.
    3. All lanes of traffic travelling same direction in all lanes.
    4. Parked traffic only facing one direction on both sides of the road or on left side if permitted.
    5. Lines on the ground
    6. One way signs

    I see at least one person a week travelling the wrong direction on a one way street here in Peterborough. Personally when I am driving I tend to look at the traffic lights to see if they are only on one side or both. It is usually the indicator I can see from the farthest distance away.

  2. […] your community. Some road users are quite unfamiliar with a one way street system (please see for reference) and will make mistakes. It’s up to us as drivers to help everyone on the road […]

  3. A few years back when I was “between cars” I was walking from my day job to my evening job. I reached one of the Sault’s odd intersections. It is a T intersection: the upright of the T is one-way southbound. The right side of the bar is one way westbound, with the left lane exiting to the one-way southbound road. The left side of the T is two-way, with the eastbound lane exiting to the one-way southbound road. (A picture would have been easier!)

    Anyway… as I got to the intersection, I noticed a car driving NORTHBOUND on the one-way southbound road, signalling and beginning to turn right, which would take him EASTBOUND on the one-way westbound road.

    I flagged him down and pointed out his error. His comment to me was, “That explains the last intersection I went through. There were traffic lights to my left and right, but none straight ahead.”

    One of the problems I find (other than driver error) is that municipal traffic departments are familiar with their cities, and fall into the “everyone knows” trap. We need to look at our traffic control systems with an outsider’s eye, to be sure that all signs, pavement markings and signals are clear to everyone.

  4. Why can i not google a list of one way streets. It certainly would not be a hard project for the city to provide.a detailed mao might be niice also showing in a ted arrow those streets that are one way downtown.Get with it. People like to plan their trips

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