Driving tips for Canada

By Andy Burrows
To see the entire country in one trip is a bit much to ask, being that it’s over 5,000 miles from one end to the other. It’s advised to do some research beforehand to get a feel for which part of the country would suit your desired experience. Some will be drawn to the Rocky Mountains of the west, while others may opt for the more quaint seashores of the east coast.

There is no need for concern about the quality of the roads in Canada. All but the very rural roads are sealed, amply wide and well-maintained. The great distances to be covered dictate you’ll need at least a comfortable mid-size vehicle. The smart car isn’t an option here. A desirable trait nonetheless is fuel efficiency, as you’ll be burning a great deal of it on any Canadian road trip. Canada attractive car rental prices. You’ll notice that fuel prices here are a little easier on the wallet than in Europe, but petrol has been steadily rising in price over the past few years.

Foreign visitors to Canada often remark how straight and long the roads can be, and how they could drive for miles without seeing another car. In more remote areas, this can certainly be a reality and it’s unlikely that the road systems themselves will cause you grief. The signage is clear and unless you hit a major city at rush hour, traversing the highways of Canada is usually smooth sailing.

There are two highway systems that will take you as close as coast to coast as you can get. The Yellowhead Highway covers the central to west coast route and the Trans-Canada Highway passes through northern Ontario, the heavily populated area of the Great Lakes and through Quebec to the Maritimes. Canada auto rental

Having multiple drivers is recommended and no one driver should be at the wheel for more than about 340 miles (500 to 600kms) a day. It is also advisable to stop every once in a while to get out and stretch your legs. Chances are you’ll need to find the toilets anyway.

You will find there are numerous roadside petrol stations and restaurants lining most of the highways in Canada. If you’re on a major route, chances are there will be filling stations open 24 hours. They almost always have a few restaurants attached to them, but if you’re not into fast food, you may find it difficult to get a decent meal. McDonald’s devotees on the other hand will be happy to munch their way across the country. Aside from gastrointestinal concerns, if your car needs some extra care, you shouldn’t have to look too far for maintenance.

One concern for drivers in Canada is winter road conditions which can change a leisurely cruise into something approximating a nightmare. Reduce speed when driving in snow or on icy roads. A mistake in this weather can ruin a holiday pretty quickly.

To rent a car, you’ll need to be over 25 years old and possess a valid driver’s licence. As Canada recognises all licences, an international driver’s permit is not necessary.

Once inside the car, the rules of the road are fairly simple. Stick to the right side of the road, follow the clearly marked speed limits and make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt. On the motorways, the average speed is about 68mph (100kmph). On smaller, two-lane stretches, the limit is usually 55mph (80kmph). In towns or residential areas, 30mph (50kmph) is the norm.

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