What Americans Need To Know About Driving In Canada

For Americans heading to Canada for vacation or business this season, you may be wondering what you have to know to drive safely in the provinces up north. While traffic flows on the right hand side of the road as it does in the United States, there are some things you need to know before you cross the border.

1. Bring your passport and your local driver's license. There's no need to spend extra money on an international driver's license if you're only going to visit Canada. Your local license plus your passport together act as a temporary license in Canada.

2. Check your auto insurance. Most U.S. car insurance policies cover American drivers who cross over into Canada. Canadian authorities accept American policies as long as the driver is visiting the country for tourism. If you are visiting for sales or other business purposes, you may need a supplemental policy to cover your stay.

3. Familiarize yourself with international road signs. The road signs in Canada are the international signs that you'd find in Europe and other parts of the world. They are slightly different from the signs you are familiar with in the United States. Some signs, especially in Quebec Province, may be in French.

4. Remember that signs and speed limits are measured in kilometers, not miles. Canada, like most parts of the world, uses the metric system for measurements. That means that distances and speed limits are measured in kilometers, not miles. One hundred kilometers equals 62 miles.

5. Beware of wild life. As in parts of the United States, deer, elk and moose can be a driving hazard, especially in the spring and the fall.

6. Know Canadian speed limits. Not all speed limits are posted in Canada. Unless a different limit is posted, the speed limit in Canada is 50 km per hour in the cities, 80 km per hour on the highways and 100 km per hour on rural highways.

7. Seat belts are mandatory in all parts of Canada. Make sure that you buckle up.

8. Dial 911 in an emergency. Emergency assistance in Canada is reached by calling "911," just like in the United States.

Canada is a vast country. Driving in Canada lets you experience the varied topography as well as gives you the flexibility to make unscheduled stops when you see a shop, a view or a restaurant that interests you. Prepare to drive safely in Canada by learning about the few differences between driving there and driving in the States.  

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