Driving in Canada

With its stunning landscapes, friendly people and wide roads, Canada offers one of the best driving experiences North America has to offer. Take the time to learn the key road rules before you go and you’ll be all set to enjoy a fantastic road trip.

Key rules, regulations and things to know

  • Drive on the right. And make sure you park to the right, too, so that you’re not facing oncoming traffic.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Penalties for driving over the limit are harsh, so it’s best to avoid alcohol completely if you’re driving. And if you have a drink driving conviction in another country, you may need to apply for a special waiver to enter Canada. Contact the Canadian consulate in your country for more information well before you go, as this process can take several weeks.
  • Seat belts must be worn by the driver and all passengers at all times. And if you’re travelling with a baby or young child, make sure they’re travelling in an approved car or booster seat.
  • Speeds and distances on road signs appear in kilometres. Not miles.
  • If you’re planning to drive in Quebec, it pays to know a little French. Some signs there appear only in French.
  • Radar detectors are illegal. Leave them at home, and disable this feature in your sat nav if necessary.
  • Daytime running lights are required. So turn on those headlights whenever you hit the road.
  • Be careful about turning right at red lights. It’s illegal in places like Montreal and Quebec.
  • Keep an eye on weather conditions. Winters in Canada can be long and severe, resulting in road closures and/or winter tyre requirements coming into effect. Humid summer conditions have also been known to cause problems on the roads.
  • Watch out for wildlife. Elk, deer and moose are just a few examples of animals that are known to cross Canadian roads.
  • If you’re driving into the country from the USA, Canadian border officials may search your car. Personal belongings are generally fine and not subject to duties or taxes, but there are limits on particular items.
  • Pedestrians at marked crossings have right of way. Driving over a pedestrian crossing if people are already on it or waiting to cross is illegal.

More information

The following government websites are available in English and French.

Transport Canada

Contains detailed information about road safety initiatives, federal Acts and Regulations, and more

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

A useful resource if you’re driving over the border from the USA, with information about wait times at the border, restricted items and more.

Don’t forget your insurance

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) can cost as much as US $30 a day if you buy your cover from your rental company. Save money and protect yourself before you go with insurance4carhire.com

Customer Testimonials

"Excellent insurance cover and you are a very efficient organisation"

M Turner

"I am a happy customer and recommend you to all my friends and colleagues"

B Dunphy

"My claim was settled super efficiently with the minimal effort"

I Porter

"We’ve had a policy for 2 or 3 years now and it’s brilliant.  You dealt with our claim quickly and efficiently"

T Cochrane

"Great service. I shall have no hesitation in using your services and products on future trips"

P Impey