Driving in Canada can be a magnificent or frustrating experience. One moment you may find yourself stuck in traffic maneuvering through a city centre. The next moment, you may witness some of the most breathtaking natural scenery on Earth. No matter where you travel or why you get behind the wheel, some basic safety precautions can help make your trip through town or across Canada safe and enjoyable.
At Wagners, we want to help you prepare for the long road ahead. Driving through Canada, especially on the highway, can turn into a nerve-racking experience. How do you drive on the highway in Canada? Road trips don’t have to be anxiety-inducing when you follow some essential Canadian highway driving tips.
Driving Tip #1 – Prepare for the Road Ahead
If you plan a road trip anywhere in Canada, especially some of the most scenic routes, plan accordingly. You can’t always rely on cell phones or GPS to direct you where to go. Plan your route, locate stops you want to make along the way and familiarize yourself with provincial laws and languages. If you are travelling to a predominantly French-speaking region, learn basic French phrases you may come across on street signs.
It would help if you also prepared by checking your route’s weather and road conditions. When you know what to expect, you can reduce distractions and unexpected hazards.
Driving Tip #2 – Stay Alert
Staying safe on the highway means staying alert. Avoid distractions like using a cell phone, constantly checking GPS, eating, and grooming while driving. Stay focused on the road ahead. Even daydreaming can be a distraction and lead to a significant accident. Transport Canada’s National Collision Database estimates that 21 percent of fatal collisions and 27 percent of all serious car accidents are caused by distracted driving.
Driving Tip #3 – Know When Enough Is Enough
The constant drone of road noise and long hours in the car can be exhausting for some motorists. If you are taking a long journey and hitting Canada’s network of highways, know when enough is enough. If you feel tired, sleepy, or fatigued, it is time to find a safe place to rest and recharge. Driving while drowsy produces many of the same effects as driving while drunk, causing changes in thinking, judgment, and coordination. One report by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police estimates that 20 percent of fatal collisions involve driver fatigue.
Driving Tip #4 – Use the Correct Lane
A vital tip for safe highway driving is always using the correct lane for speed and traffic flow. The far-left lane should only be used for passing slower-moving vehicles, not as a lane for driving at a consistent speed. It is also common courtesy to use the left lane or move over to another lane when other motorists attempt to merge onto the highway or when an emergency vehicle or stalled motorist sits on the shoulder of a roadway.
Driving Tip #5 – Follow All Local Traffic Laws
Canada is a vast country, and all provinces and territories have their own traffic laws. Before you head onto the open road, familiarize yourself with the traffic laws of the areas you’ll travel through. For example, many provinces have distracted driving laws you should know about beforehand: in Quebec, sudden braking for no reason can get you two demerit points added to your driving record.
Driving Tip #6 – Maintain a Safe Speed and Driving Distance
It is easy to hit cruise control and zone out while navigating a long stretch of Canadian highway. However, it is crucial that you stay alert and always maintain a safe speed and driving distance between your vehicle and others. Use the three-second rule to keep enough distance between you and the car ahead of you. Pick a spot on the road near that car and see how many seconds it takes you to reach it after they do. If it’s less than three, make more space between you.
Although you may be excited to get to your destination and want to rush through your time on the highway, you can keep yourself and others safe by not speeding. Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics suggests that in recent years, speeding has contributed to over 24 percent of fatal collisions.
Driving Tip #7 – Always Use Your Signals
You can’t use words to communicate with other drivers on the highway. Instead, always use your turn signals. Turn signals help communicate your intentions to other drivers so they can anticipate your actions.
Driving Tip #8 – Understand the Language of the Road
Are you a foreign traveller looking to explore Canada via the highway? Familiarize yourself with the language of the road and the driving style in Canada. Canada uses the metric system, meaning speed limits on the highway are typically displayed in kilometres per hour, not miles per hour. Many multi-lane highways have a speed limit of 100 kph, the equivalent of around 62 miles per hour. Distance is also measured in kilometres rather than miles. A basic understanding of the metric system can help you estimate speed limits and distances between landmarks as you travel across Canada.
Driving Tip #9 – Stay Calm
Nothing ruins a road trip faster than a case of road rage. Try to remain calm when driving, avoid letting your temper flare and get the best of you. Rage can impair your judgment and lead to dangerous and aggressive driving behaviours.
Driving Tip #10 – Pack Accordingly
Whether a quick tour or an extended road trip, pack accordingly and keep an emergency kit in your car. Canada’s weather can change instantly, leaving you with unmanageable adverse road conditions unless you think ahead. Keep chains in your car if travelling during the fall and winter months. You should also keep a properly inflated spare tire, tools, jumper cables, flashlight, drinking water, snacks, blankets, car charger, and first aid supplies in your emergency supply kit.
Injured in a Car Accident on a Canadian Highway? Contact our Office for Help
You may follow all these highway driving tips to a T and still find yourself the victim of a highway accident. If the actions of a careless motorist injure you, seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer with Wagners Personal Injury Lawyers today.
At Wagners, we are invested in helping you recover the compensation you need following a car accident caused by someone else. Contact our office to discuss your situation and learn more about how we may be able to help you after an accident.