Driving in Canada is quite different from driving in other countries or even driving in the USA. Therefore, it is important to know about driving in Canada to drive safe and avoid confusions. Canadian roads are quite long and accidents caused by fatigue and drowsiness are common. People drive on the right-hand side and winter travel are quite risky due to heavy snowfalls and icy conditions. In fact, besides snow tires being recommended in some provinces, some roads and bridges are closed during winter seasons. Some of the things you need to know about driving in Canada include the following:
Speed is measured in kilometres per hour in Canada (metric system) and speed limits vary depending on where you are driving. In the cities, maximum speed is 50 km/hr while in highways 80 km/hr is the maximum speed. If you are driving on a rural highway, 100 km/hr is the maximum driving unless otherwise stated. Police can confiscate radar detectors whether they are operational or not and even impose heavy fines whether you are aware or not. Finally, if you violate any speed laws, the action can be caught on cameras or radar traps for further action.
Using a seat belt is mandatory for all passengers. In case you do not adhere to the seat belt rule, you can get a ticket or a fine for the offence. If a child weighs less than 20 kg i.e. 40 pounds, child car seats are recommended.
Road signs and symbols used in Canada are similar to those used in most countries. Therefore, if you are a qualified driver, it is quite easy to follow traffic signs and symbols in Canada. However, in Quebec, most road signs are in French. Therefore, driving in some areas might require you to have French skills.
Carrying relevant documentation while driving in Canada is important to avoid inconveniences. You should have your driver’s license, passport, vehicle registration and certificate of motor insurance while driving. If you are a tourist from the US, US auto insurance is accepted although most US insurance firms will issue you with a Canadian insurance card which you should always have when visiting Canada.
Drinking and driving
Drinking and driving are serious crimes and they are heavily penalized in Canada just like in other countries e.g. the US. However, in Canada, if you have any prior convictions regardless of how minor or old the infractions might be, they can offer grounds for exclusion from Canada. It is also illegal to use your mobile phone when driving.
If you are stopped by a police offer while driving, you are required to stay seated in your car and turn off the engine. Remain calm and wait for further instructions from the officer. It is not a must you are stopped for violating the laws, it might be a mere checkup. Therefore, you should not freak out or act weird. Finally, if you are caught violating traffic laws, you should never try to bribe a police officer or pay the fine directly to him because it is a serious crime in Canada if you are caught.