On The Road in Canada

Speed limits, road signs and traffic conditions for the driver to be aware of when on the roads in Canada...

What to Carry in the Car

It is not compulsory to carry any items in a car while driving in Canada. However, it is recommended when driving in winter to have the following items:
  • Shovel/spade
  • Sand or pet litter
  • Flashlight
  • Extra warm clothing and footwear
  • Emergency food
  • Matches and a "survival" candle in a deep can (to warm hands, heat a drink or use as an emergency light)
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Fuel line antifreeze
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Blankets
  • Snow chains in some provinces
  • See Angloinfo INFOrmation Page, Winters in Canada
The following documents must always be carried with the driver in the car:
  • Valid driving licence
  • Vehicle registration document
  • Certificate of motor insurance

Safe Road Usage

  • Vehicles may pass on the right ("undertake") on highways in some provinces/territories
  • Turning right on a red light (after stopping) is permitted except in Montreal and in towns and cities where directional signposts indicate otherwise
  • Drivers must give way to traffic from the left at roundabouts/traffic circles
  • Hazard lights must be used when driving very slowly (large vehicle, hazardous weather)
  • Some provinces require headlights to be switched on during the day regardless of the weather. Headlights must be kept dipped in low visibility weather. Most Canadian cars are equipped with daytime running lights
  • Pedestrians have the right of way at intersections and crosswalks, provided they are not crossing against a signal. Drivers must yield to pedestrians
  • Drivers must yield to emergency vehicles with lights flashing and if they are approaching from behind, drivers must pull over and stop
Safety laws also apply on a provincial/territorial level; check rules for individual provinces. Go to the locations link via the Canadian Royal Mounted Police website

School Buses

School buses are yellow in Canada and are used to pick up and drop off children to and from school. When a bus stops and has its stop sign extended and/or red lights flashing, drivers in both directions must stop at a safe distance behind the bus to allow children to get off. It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing and/or extended stop signal. Failure to do so incurs an on the spot fine of up to C$4,000 and demerit points. Repeat offenders could even face possible prison time. Vehicle owners can be charged if their vehicle illegally passes a stopped school bus, even if they were not driving. Drivers should only move forward once the red lights have stopped flashing or the bus begins to move. The only exception is on highways where traffic is separated by a median. Traffic in the opposite direction is not required to stop.

Recovery/Breakdown Services

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is the largest recovery company and offers emergency roadside assistance, travel advice and insurance.

Road Tax in Canada

There is no road tax in Canada.