Driving Tips In Canada

Canadian highways are superb, with excellent, well-maintained, surfaces offering uncongested travel to​ most parts of​ the country; roads here certainly rival those of​ the USA. It's not unusual to​ travel for​ hours and​ not pass another vehicle in​ some of​ the more remote areas.

Road rules

Canada honours all valid foreign driving licences; therefore an​ international driving permit is​ not necessary. The minimum driving age is​ 16 but you​ need to​ be 25 to​ hire a​ car with most companies. Seatbelts for​ the driver and​ front-seat passengers must be worn, with infants strapped into a​ safety seat. Some provinces require that drivers switch on​ their headlights during the day.

The maximum limit for​ level of​ alcohol in​ the blood while driving is​ 0.8mg/ml and​ there are strict penalties for​ violators.

Speed limits vary from province to​ province, as​ a​ general guideline:

Urban areas: 50kph/31mph
Outside schools: 30kph/18mph
Rural roads/highways: 90 – 110kph/56 – 68mph.

Motorways and​ the road network

Highways mainly consist of​ two- to​ three-lane roads, narrowing to​ a​ wide, single lane in​ the countryside. The Trans-Canada Highway covers 8,000kms/5,000mls making it​ the longest highway in​ the world; while the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16), which runs through Canada's vast prairies, over the Rockies, and​ to​ the Pacific coast, is​ almost as​ long.

As in​ all major cities around the world, parking can be difficult in​ Canadian cities. Look for​ signs marked with a​ green 'P', indicating municipal parking, and​ avoid street parking as​ the car may be wheel-clamped or​ towed away if​ left in​ a​ restricted zone.

Costs, distances and​ times

Most of​ Canada's service stations are open 24 hours for​ fuel, with automobile maintenance and​ service available during business hours. Canadian cars use unleaded petrol, sold by the litre, with considerably cheaper prices than those encountered in​ Europe, but slightly more expensive than prices in​ the USA.

Typical driving distances:

Vancouver to​ Toronto: 4492kms/2790mls
Vancouver to​ Yellowknife: 2411kms/1498mls
Toronto to​ Montreal: 539kms/335mls.


Don't drive beyond your​ limits, as​ distances in​ Canada are deceptive. Stop every couple of​ hours to​ relax, and​ don't try to​ drive beyond 500 or​ 600kms in​ a​ day. The CAA provides reciprocal assistance to​ members of​ international auto clubs.

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