Driving Tips, Rules & Regulations in Canada

What’s so great about Canada is that it’s so vast that it’s ideal for those who are into long road trips. But if you don’t plan your trips ahead, the roads can be very frustrating. The idea is to plot your destinations ahead and know where to make your stops to enjoy the scenery. The various provinces in Canada have some unique traffic rules, but most of them – especially the ones you need to take note of – are common to all of them. Knowing these common rules will at least guarantee that you’ll be able to get around without much trouble.

Take note that in Canada, people drive on the right. This is important especially if you’re from the UK. Fortunately, getting used to this through practice is easy because of Canada’s high safety standards. It will be easy for you to hit the road slowly until you get used to the feel of driving on the “wrong side” of the road with little to no danger.

More than the very safe and defensive driving culture, the roads in Canada are normally in great shape, especially when you hit the big cities. There are traffic congestions there too, but somehow the driving experience remains pleasant. With that, travellers are left with more natural threats on the road, especially in the highways. Watch out for signs that indicate wildlife crossing, as there will be considerably large animals that cars could crash into. Icy roads, avalanches, and extreme snow conditions will also be a common threat during the winter, and there’s also a possibility of getting stranded. Make sure you’ve got means of contacting authorities in case such emergencies happen. It also goes without saying that investing in insurance will help you in the long run.

Fines for violating speed limits are quite high in Canada, so make sure you keep within the 100 km/h limit on motorways and 50 km/h for areas with traffic build-ups. These can vary, though, so always watch out for speed signs and follow those. Aside from fines, your license will also suffer some sanctions through a points system.

Keep in mind that Canadians enforce their traffic rules strictly, so take time to learn them, especially if you plan on moving from province to province. Driving while under the influence of alcohol and possession of automobile radar detectors are serious criminal offenses. Signs are also posted to indicate which turns are allowed – this means that any other turn made in the area is not allowed. It’s also important to note that in Quebec, it’s illegal to turn right when there’s a red light. There are a considerable number of signs that are in French, so it pays to be familiar with them as well.

Lastly, just make sure you’ve got a license – either locally issued or from your home country. The requirements for international driving permits are generally similar with other countries. In either case, the license will need to be renewed periodically. With that you’ll be able to driving anywhere in Canada.

Summary

Drive on the right.
Very safe and defensive driving culture.
The roads are normally in great shape, especially when you hit the big cities.
Watch out for signs that indicate wildlife crossing.
Icy roads, avalanches, and extreme snow conditions are common during the winter.
Fines for violating speed limits are quite high in Canada.
Speed limits vary but normally 100 km/h limit on motorways and 50 km/h for areas with traffic build-ups.
There are a considerable number of signs that are in French in some provinces.
Make sure you’ve got your driving license with you at all times.

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