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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.

Age Restrictions

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

Speed Limits

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

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.

Vancouver Driving Guide

Vancouver is situated on the west coast of Canada. The city itself is beautiful and lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountains.

Vancouver has plenty of tourist attractions and not only its natural beauty. It is filled with cultural venues including museums and art galleries while the garden and parks are always filled with people enjoying life in this metropolis.

However, once you have had your fill of the city, consider hiring a rental car and exploring numerous little gems that can be found near Vancouver. Just driving in this part of the world is worth it for its scenic beauty.

Vancouver to Squamish

1 hour (40 miles) (64.1 km) to Squamish via BC-99 N

Perhaps one of the greatest reasons to visit the town of Squamish is the majestic drive that will get you there. The cliff-side route is one of the most scenic drives in Canada and there are numerous attractions along the way.

These include the Sea to Sky Gondola. This cableway takes you up a 2000m mountainside. The panoramic views once at the top are breathtaking! That’s not all that you will find at the summit, however. Hiking trails, a suspension bridge and a restaurant will definitely encourage you to make the trip up the cableway.

Other attractions around Squamish include the Britannia Mine Museum (including an underground train tour), West Coast Railway Heritage Park (with an incredible vintage train collection) and numerous outdoor activities including windsurfing, kite-boarding, hiking, bike trails, river rafting and rock climbing.

Accommodation options in Squamish suit every budget and include camping, inns, lodges, bed and breakfast establishments and hotels.

Vancouver to Fraser Valley

2 h 18 min (100 miles) (161.9 km) to Fraser Valley via Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 E

A beautiful rural area filled with farms and wineries, Fraser Valley, is also home to the Fort Langley National Historic Site. This museum documents the history of this fortified trading post from 1827 onwards. It is an ideal attraction for families, and activities include fort tours, costumed re-enactments of historical events, traditional gold panning and artisan workshops.

Many farms and wineries in the valley are open to visitors while outdoor activities can be found everywhere including hiking trails, bike trails, kayaking, canoeing and fishing to name but a few.

For museum lovers, many can be found in the region including the Canadian Museum of Flight and Transportation, CN Station Museum, Brittania Shipyard Historical site and the Aldergrove Telephone Museum.

Accommodation options in Fraser Valley include bed and breakfast establishments, camping facilities, inns, lodges, resorts, motels and hotels.

Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs

1 hour 30 mins (106 miles) (131.3 km) to Harrison Springs via Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 E

A short trip to the east of Vancouver lies the town of Harrison, famous for its hot springs. The springs themselves are the major attraction in the area, but there is so much more to see and do in this small town and surrounds.

Other attractions include skiing, white river rafting, swimming on one of the many beaches on the lake, various water sports, hiking trails, bike trails and off-road trails. There are many other attractions just outside the town itself including the Kilby Historic site, Tugboat Junction Adventure Park and the beautiful Bridal Falls.

Accommodation options at Harrison Hot Springs include resorts, spas, camping area, inns, lodges and hotels.

With the savings you will find at Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels we believe that you will be able to do so much more when you get there.

Your Cheaperthancars Team

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