Driving in Canada
Driving in Canada
A person aged 16 or older is qualified to apply for a international driving license in Canada.

There are major differences between the Indian way and the Canadian way when it comes to driving. For starters, the prospect of driving on the "wrong" right side of the road might be intimidating for some moving to Canada. But be assured that the left hand drive is not a difficult task. With practice and careful driving, one can easily adapt.

The following are some points to keep in mind:

* Traffic flow in Canada is extremely orderly and noise free. Even though traffic laws and rules differ from one province/territory to another, they are more or less similar. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules. For a full list of laws and rules about driving, get a copy of the driving guide issued by the department that regulates cars and driving in your province or territory. These guides are usually available at service centres, online and in stores.

* A person aged 16 or older is qualified to apply for a international driving license in Canada.

* There are three levels of license. The first is G1 which is a written exam to ensure one is familiar with the traffic laws and rules. The second is G2 which is given after an applicant successfully completes a driving exam with an examiner. G2 needs to be renewed every five years. And the last is level G which is valid for a longer period of time. There is a guideline on the wait period between all these levels. Please check specific provincial guidelines.

* It is possible to drive in Canada for three months on an International Driving Permit. The permit must be issued outside of Canada in your home country where the license was issued. The permit is essentially a translation of the driving license and your experience as a driver.

* It is illegal in Canada to talk on the phone while driving.

* Seat belts are compulsory for the driver, the passenger in the front seat, and any children below the age of 12. A car seat is also compulsory for babies and toddlers (age varies please see province specific guidelines).

* There are strict regulations about the number of people that are allowed in a car. The passengers should not exceed the number of working seat belts in the car. There are strict fines for breaking this rule. If you are a big family, it would be advisable to buy a bigger car.

* It is important to adhere to the speed limits as posted on the roads. It is not uncommon for the police to monitor, stop and fine speeding cars.

* In case a police stops you, do not panic. Stop the car to the side, turn off the engine and stay seated. The cop will approach you and give you further instructions. Be polite and well mannered.

* Canada has a demerit point system in place to deal with driving violations. Demerit points are added to your driver's licence, if you are convicted of breaking certain driving laws. The rules are different depending on if you are a new driver or have a full licence. One starts with zero points and gain points for being convicted of breaking certain traffic laws. Demerit points stay on a person's record for two years from the offence date. The penalty differs depending on the number of demerit points. If one collects enough points, one can lose their driver's licence.

* Canada is covered in snow half the year and this makes for dangerous driving conditions. The snow and black ice makes the roads slippery and the car more likely to skid. Careful driving is a must. In case of snow or slush on the road, drive slowly. Also, it is important to get winter tires for the car during the winter months. The winter tires reduce the risk of skidding.

* The pedestrian has the right of way and drivers must wait at stop signs to allow for pedestrians to cross.

* It is illegal in Canada to drive a car without car insurance. The monthly insurance payment is depends on numerous factors like age, experience etc. If multiple people are going to be use the same car, the names of all these individuals must be in the insurance. Always have your insurance papers/details and driver's license at all times.