Canadian_FlagInternational Driving Guidelines: Canada

Canada is such a popular holiday destination that we’re busy all year-round arranging rental cars for our customers. As the second largest country in the world, the weather conditions and road laws vary from one region to another, but because we only use reputable suppliers, we ensure that the price you’re quoted covers all of your Canadian car hire needs, no matter where you drive. This leaves the fun part of actually driving there, up to you!

Here are the main laws and advice you should be aware of before hitting the open road in Canada.


  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  • All cars in Canada are automatic, as opposed to manual transmission. This makes driving on the other side of the road even easier as there are no gear changes to worry about.
  • Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal.
  • Snow-tyres are mandatory in Quebec so let us know if the province features in your travel plans when you book your hire car.
  • Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers, and children who weigh less than 40 pounds must sit in an appropriate child seat. If you need booster seats, just request them when you make your booking and we’ll arrange them for you.
  • It’s illegal to park in front of fire hydrants.
  • The legal drink/drive limit varies by province and foreign drivers breaking this law will be fined heavily or in some cases deported. Road-checks are frequent, particularly at night so it’s simply best to avoid alcohol altogether if you’re driving.
  • Speed limits also vary between provinces. Pay attention to the speed limit signs and stick to them. Breaking the limit is a serious offence and radars are used regularly to catch speeding motorists.

General Guidance:

  • In Quebec, road signs are written in French but their meaning is generally clear.
  • Vehicles with green flashing lights, just like ambulances, fire engines and police cars, must be allowed to pass – they are carrying volunteer fire fighters.
  • Don’t drive when you’re tired. Some of the routes in Canada are remote and you may encounter moose or elk on the road so it’s best to be alert.
  • Canada is a huge country so plan your journeys in advance. Make sure you have bottled water and food, plan where you’ll refuel your hire car and make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.
  • Depending on how you plan to spend your holiday, you might need a ski-rack or snow-chains but if you specify your requirements when you book your vehicle, we can help to arrange these for you.
  • Toll roads operate across the country. Some will bill your car electronically and you can pay for this when you return the vehicle; others require cash payments so make sure you have some money with you.
  • Carry your licence, ID, rental and insurance documents with you at all times. If you have an accident, take the details of any other drivers involved and report it to your insurer immediately.
  • If you need it, the emergency services number in Canada is 911.

Canada is exceptionally beautiful so remember to pull over every now and then to simply stand and appreciate the view. If you learn any other tips or discover any road rules we haven’t already listed, please let us know and we’ll add them to this guide. Have a great trip!