Planning a trip to Canada? You’re going to love it! And you will most likely be doing a road trip, too. Driving in Canada is very similar to driving in the United States: They drive on the right, big pick-up trucks are common, and the makes and models of cars you see are the same. But there are a few important differences to note. Here are the most important things to know about driving in and around Canada!
You Will Most Likely Want a Car
Unless you’re planning to stay in the city center of places like Toronto, Montreal, St. John’s, Vancouver, Quebec City, etc., you will most likely want to have a car handy. And even if you are planning to stay in the city, you still might find you need a car to get around to all the things you want to do and see! Canada is similar to the United States in that way—there is a lot of space, and not everything you’ll want to do will be within walking distance!
More here: 10 Things to Do on Prince Edward Island
Check Your Distances in Advance
It may look close on a map, but you really need to look up distances in a mapping app so you can see just how far the journey is, and how long the drive will take you. Will you want to break it up and stop somewhere overnight along the way? Do you want to try and knock it out in one day? Can you take a day trip there and back in a reasonable timeframe? Check your distances using Google Maps or the Map app on your phone.
More here: The Ultimate List of Road Trip Tips
You Can Drive or Take a Ferry to Many Maritime Islands
Hoping to visit some islands while you’re in the country, but think you’ll have to leave your car behind? No worries! Several large islands are connected to mainland Canada by bridge, like the Confederation Bridge connecting Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island.
If no bridge is available, you can have a fun experience by taking a car ferry! Canadians are a driving people, so there are definitely options to bring your own car along when traveling, even to a Canadian island!
Also helpful: What to Know Before You Visit Prince Edward Island
Bring Snacks and Water
Rest stops can be few and far between. Make sure you bring snacks and water, even if you think you won’t need them. Take advantage of the rest stops and gas stations that you do find along the way. Take plenty of breaks, too, so you won’t burn out before you arrive at your destination.
Remember You’re in Kilometers
If you happen to be driving across the border from the United States to Canada, remember that your speed limit signs in Canada will refer to kilometers! Canadian cars are already set up for kilometers to be the main unit of distance and display kilometers per hour in larger numbers. American cars, however, have the miles per hour listed in the larger numbers. Just know which numbers you need to go by!
Read next: What to Know Before You Visit Canada
Stay to the Right Unless Passing
This is something that surprises Americans sometimes. Canadians actually only use the left lane to pass, not to drive their entire route. No one is sitting in the left lane going below the speed limit. It’s amazing! Remember to pass on the left like you should back home, and then keep to the right lane once you pass.
Read next: 5 Trips for Positive Vibes
There Will Be Potholes on Smaller Roads
Be on the lookout, and get out of their way! Some of the potholes we saw on the Bonavista Peninsula were large, deep, and needed to be repaired! As you might imagine, there are a lot of long roads in Canada, so not every pothole is a priority. Remember to be self-aware.
Get Cozy with Your Cruise Control
Give your leg a break and get cozy with the cruise control on long drives. Because people really do keep right except when passing, you won’t need to do a lot of crafty speeding up and slowing down to keep up with the flow of traffic. You can just pass at speed!
For everything you need to plan your Canadian getaway, take a look at my dedicated Canada Page!
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