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Canadian rules of the road

An International Driving Permit (IDP)

You will need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before travelling to the Canada if you’re planning on driving while there. IDPs are only available for purchase in Ireland from the AA. To obtain an application form plus further details on IDPs click here.

Speeding Laws in Canada

The general speed limits in Canada are:

  • Motorways – 100 km/h
  • Built-up Areas – 50 km/h


There are a number of mobile patrols monitoring for speeding and high fines can be imposed for those that are caught.

Road Rules in Canada

Motorists should be advised that different provinces in Canada while mainly similar have their own road rules of the road. Some need-to-know information about driving in Canada:

  • Penalty points systems which includes monetary fines are in place in each province, so be aware of your speed and don’t drink and drive.
  • Like Ireland, Speed signs are in kilometers and not miles
  • Always give way to pedestrians on pedestrian crossings
  • Take out full insurance if you’re planning to hire a car in Canada. Don’t try to cut costs here, make sure you have the best cover you can get.
  • Fuel is readily available and you can pay with cash or cards.


General driving conditions


Motorists drive on the right hand side in Canada. The road conditions in Canada are generally very quality, particularly near the large cities. Given Canada’s huge land mass and that you cross 6 time zones going coast to coast, a number of different road types exist ranging from regular highways and expressways to long winding country roads that go on for miles.


When travelling in Canada you should take heed of signage indicating certain types of wildlife and reduce your speed. Deer, elk and Moose for example are large animals and can do substantial damage to your vehicle were to hit one.

Certain parts of Canada can be extremely hazardous during winter months so watch out for icy roads, rock avalanches, snow or other extreme conditions. Some roads are very isolated and getting into an accident there could mean being stranded out there for hours with no other cars passing by. Always take a mobile phone if you can and have the number of local emergency services available.

If you’re planning to travel through Quebec, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with some basic French travel phrases before you go. If not, you can take a French phrase book with you as many signs are only in French and you may have difficulty understanding the road rules there.