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Road Rules and Traffic Regulations in Canada - Driving Nuances

1. In Canada, there is no universal set of traffic regulations. Each province has its own special rules, own speed restrictions and fines. However, there are some general rules that can be applied to all the provinces.
2. Text road signs are much more widely used in Canada, graphical signs can be seen on the roads less often. Tourists from other countries who do not speak English will find it quite difficult to understand what some road signs actually mean. In Quebec, even road signs in English are rare. The majority of information is written in French.
3. Regardless of the province, metric system of calculation is used in Canada. All distances on signs are indicated in kilometers and speed is mentioned, respectively, in kilometers per hour.
4. If there is no speed limit sign on a road, drivers should follow the default speed limits. In the territory of settlements the speed limit is 50 km/h, and in motorways the speed must not exceed 80 km/h.
5. On a number of roads located outside settlements the maximum permitted speed is 100 km/h, and in the territory of some cities the speed limit can be 60 km/h. In Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick there are roads where the speed limit is 110 km/h.
6. Exceeding the speed limit is not recommended as such a violation will most result in a fine. Depending on a province and a city, the fine may be issued even for a minor violation (a speeding of 5 - 16 km/h).
7. However, in accordance with the local rules, drivers must not drive on a highway at a speed that is less than the speed of traffic. If the speed of traffic is higher than the maximum allowed speed, then a driver must move with excessive speed in order not to create obstacles for other drivers. If a car is at the end of the car flow and does not create any kind of obstacle to traffic, then a driver must move slowly and do not exceed to maximum speed limit.

Nuances of Car Rental in Canada

To save on your rental, we advise to book your car in advance. You will save the most if you do this several weeks or even several months prior to your trip. Rental offices in Canada usually raise rental prices over time, based on the number of cars left available for the accounting period.

When looking for an exotic car (cabriolet, minivan or limousine), we advise to check in the rental offices located at airports, as they usually provide much wider choice comparing to offices in urban areas.

Upon receipt of invoices, bills and documents for your car at the rental location, please compare the obtained data with your voucher. Quite often, employees of rental offices in Canada try to add optional charges or services without informing customers.

It is very important to pick up your car at the rental office in Canada in a correct way. Prior to leaving the office, carefully inspect the car for various defects, and ensure that all the discovered defects are mentioned in your rental documents. In case of a non-compliance found, place a demand for correction to the rental officer.

You can always check our car actual rental offers in Canada. Simply use the search form at the top of the page. We guarantee that you will not find better prices anywhere else!
8. Traffic regulations violation regarding school buses are due to some of the largest fines. In all cities of the country, this type of transport is considered a “privileged” one, so it is treated with great care.
9. If a school bus has stopped and has turned on red flashing lights, then all cars that move behind it must also stop at some distance (at least 5 meters behind the bus; 20 meters is the optimal distance). Quite often in such situations the bus can show the additional «STOP» signal.
10. If the abovementioned situation has occurred on the road, which has no structural median strip, cars moving in both directions must stop.
11. All parking areas are equipped with special signs that contain all the necessary information for customers. Such a sign may indicate the category of drivers who are entitled to use the parking area, provide information about days and hours during which parking is allowed, as well as throw light upon the time limit for using the parking area.
12. Leaving a car on a specially designated parking space for the disabled is a serious violation. As a rule, such spaces are marked with appropriate markings on the pavement. It should be noted that the fines for wrong parking are issued not by the police, but by municipal services.
13. Speaking on a cell phone while driving is possible only in case the «hands free» device is used. The driver can be fined even for the fact that he simply drives a car, holding a cell phone in his hand. The use of other electronic devices, which can be used to send messages or make calls, is also prohibited.
14. Children can be transported only in a special chair. This rule has its own nuances in different provinces. In some regions children weighing up to 18 kg must be transported in a special chair only, while in other regions the height of a child is also taken into consideration.
15. It should be noted that not all taxis in the city are equipped with special seats for young passengers, but it is allowed to travel with children in them. In this case an adult simply needs to sit in the back seat of a taxi, fasten the seat belt and take a child in his lap, so that all the rules will be followed.
16. In all the cities of the country, except for Montreal and Quebec, right turn is allowed at red light. In Quebec and Montreal there are signs that prohibit such a maneuver right at the entrances to the cities.
17. Before making a right turn at the red light, you must stop completely and ensure the safety of such a maneuver. The turn can only be made if the car does not become a hindrance for pedestrians and other vehicles. On one-way streets it is allowed to make a right and a left turn at red light. Before such a maneuver make sure to pay attention to the road signs.
18. In Canada, one can often see crossroads that have «STOP» signs on all sides, or crossroads with red flashing signal of a traffic light. At such an intersection, the car that has arrived first and has stopped completely has the prerogative. Do not forget to give way to pedestrians.
19. When a driver has approached the intersection at the same time with another car, the car on the right moves first. In this situation, the concept of “the hindrance on the right” is important.
20. The presence of special traffic lights is one of the main features of the road infrastructure in Canada. These traffic lights are significantly different from the traffic lights familiar to many motorists. Local traffic lights have a greater number of signals, so in addition to stationary signals there are also flashing signals.
21. The flashing yellow traffic signal at the crossroads does not oblige drivers to stop. It only warns motorists of a difficult crossroads and calls for their attention.
22. The flashing green traffic light’s signal has different meaning in different provinces of Canada. In most cases, it signals drivers can make maneuvers freely, and that soon the traffic light will switch to red.
23. In Yukon and in the territory of British Columbia the flashing green signal has a different meaning. It is used in traffic lights, equipped with a special button for pedestrians. Once a pedestrian presses the button, the traffic light immediately changes to red.
24. In some provinces drivers must always drive with lower beams turned on. Drivers will be notified of this rule by special road signs.
25. Driving when drunk is considered one of the most serious violations. In this case a driver will face not only a heavy fine, but might even be imprisoned. In various provinces the maximum permitted level of alcohol in blood can be 0.5 or 0.8 ppm.
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