Driving Tips for Canada
If you’re planning on a road trip in Canada, either by your own vehicle or a rented car, the overview below will help you be safe on the road, as well as avoid unnecessary complications and fines.
To drive in Canada, you’ll need a driver’s license issued from your own country. Depending on how long you stay, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP, a translation of your license into 10 languages). Requirements vary by province; for instance, in Alberta, you can drive with another country’s license for up to 12 months as a visitor, while in Ontario, you will need an IDP if you plan on visiting more than 3 months. You will also need proof of insurance; call your insurance company to make sure you are covered in another country. If you are using a rented car, kindly check with your car rental company for specific details.
Generally, you must be at least 16 to drive in Canada. In some provinces, such as British Columbia, you must have a learner’s permit until you are 17, and even then, you can only have a novice driver’s license (a license with certain restrictions). Check the province you will be traveling in for specific age restrictions.
Driving Rules and Regulations
- Drive on the right hand side of the road
- Always obey road signs (some in French, especially in Quebec)
- Overtake from left hand side of the road.
- Everyone in the car must be wearing a seatbelt
- Electronic devices like mobile phones should not be used
- Pull over if emergency vehicle comes with its lights flashing
- Always use indicator while turning
- Is prohibited to carry radar detectors
- Always carry license while driving
- Give way to pedestrians at pedestrian crossings
The normal speed limits on Canadian roads are as follows:
- 80 km/h (50 mph) on highways
- 60 km/h (37 mph) on larger roads
- 50 km/h (30 mph) in neighborhoods
Speeding tickets will cost anywhere from $25 up to $10,000, depending on the province or territory and how fast you were going. Speeding violations are generally double the normal fine in construction and school zones.
Drunk driving is taken seriously in Canada. You may not be allowed to enter if you have DUI conviction in your country. The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08mg per 100ml; if you are found to have more than this level in your blood, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), even if you are just sitting in the driver’s seat, as the car is considered to be under your “care or control,” meaning your actions could lead to driving. For a first offense, you will be charged a minimum of $1,000, and you will likely not be allowed to drive in Canada. For a second offense, you could receive jail time or be banned from Canada.
If you are parking on the street, you should park in the direction the traffic is flowing. Some areas are marked “No Parking” so that snow trucks can clear roadways. Often, you will need to pay for parking or be fined. If you have a disability, you can likely obtain a temporary accessibility parking permit from the province you’re visiting.
The sections above are a general guideline to driving in Canada. However, as laws vary by province and territory, check out local laws before visiting.
Toronto Driving Guide - Spend less, do more
The biggest city in Canada, Toronto is situated on the north western shore of Lake Ontario. Toronto is one of the country’s major tourist attractions and is often called the “New York of Canada.”
The city itself has a very diverse population with close to 50% of the people living there born outside of its borders. It is also filled with tourist attractions including parks, museums, art galleries and is a shopper’s paradise.
Intrepid travellers intent on seeing what lies outside Toronto can use the city as a base and travel by rental car to one of the many spectacular day trips in the surrounding areas.
Toronto to Point Pelee National Park
3 hour 30 mins (220 miles) (355.0 km) to Point Pelee National Park via ON-403 W and ON-401 W
When undertaking this journey, you will probably need two days because of the driving distance involved. Point Pelee National Park is located at the southernmost tip of Canada. Of course, the journey there is half the fun, and the scenic drive is worth the effort.
As one would expect, this park is the perfect place for outdoor lovers. Activities here include hiking, bike trails, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, camping skiing and ice skating. Or you could simply laze the day away on one of the parks beaches (if the temperature allows!)
Point Pelee is also filled with a large number of animals species, most notably birds. The park is one of the premier bird watching areas on the North American continent and offers guided bird trails.
Accommodation in Point Pelee National Park takes many forms and includes camping, RV sites, bed and breakfast establishments, inns, lodges and small hotels. Some of these options are available in the park itself or the small surrounding towns such as Leamington.
Toronto to Collingwood
2 h 8 min (100miles) (161.5 km) to Collingwood via ON-400 N
The little town of Collingwood should be on your list of day trips outside of Toronto. Collingwood, situated north of the city is the perfect place for a real Canadian winter experience. Here you can ski, snowboard, drive snowmobiles or for the less adventurous, snowshoe through the countryside.
That doesn’t mean that Collingwood is not worth a visit during the non-winter months! When the snow melts activities change and includes hiking, zip lining, camping or biking.
Another major attraction in the town is the truly stunning scenic caves that can be found nearby. These are considered to be one of the natural wonders of Canada. There are many to explore, some as deep as 70 feet (21metres)! In fact, even during mid-summer, ice and snow can be found in the deeper sections of certain caves such as the aptly named Refrigerator. The area surrounding the caves also offers many beautiful lookout points. Once you have had your fill of exploring caves, visit the historic “Deer Tribe” village, an indigenous group who have lived in the area for centuries.
Accommodation options in Collingwood include inns, lodges, hotels, self-catering options and bed and breakfast establishments.
Toronto to Niagara Falls
1 h 46 min (80 miles) (128.2 km) to Niagara Falls via Queen Elizabeth Way/QEW
No trip to Toronto would be complete without a visit to Niagara Falls. Considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, Niagara has many viewing points to see the falls in all their glory.
There are many other attractions in the area as well including steamboat cruises, jet boats, a botanical garden, the Niagara Sky Wheel (which offers some of the best view of the falls) and helicopter trips.
For the closest look at Niagara itself, consider the Caves of Wind tour. Here you will descend 570 feet (175m) by lift into Niagara Gorge and end up a mere 20 feet (6m) from the falls themselves!
Accommodation options in the Niagara Falls region are varied and include resorts, inns, lodges, self-catering units, bed and breakfast establishments and hotels.
With the money you save renting a car with Cheaperthancars or staying with Cheaperthanhotels for your accommodations need, we believe you will have more money to do more when you get there.
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