Hailed as the largest city in Canada, Toronto is known for many things. From numerous tourist destinations, daily events, and a plethora of unique neighbourhoods, there is no shortage of things to do and places to explore. However, when it comes to listing things Toronto is known for, their roads and driving abilities don’t rank very high. From confusing one-way streets to annoying rush hour traffic, there are various reasons many people opt for public transit instead. Luckily, with a few tips and tricks, you can be driving the streets of Toronto like a pro. Whether you’re in the city for a day or live in the 6ix permanently, isure has you covered. Here are our tips on how to drive around the city of Toronto, safely and confidently.

1. Keep change handy for parking

Let’s face it; no matter what you plan on doing in the city by car, parking is going to be a necessity. Unfortunately, parking spaces are always in high-demand in Toronto, specifically downtown. As a result of this, you can end up paying a lot out-of-pocket, depending on where in the city you are. Luckily, there are many ways to avoid the high parking prices, such as sticking to a parking meter. Though still not cheap, they usually end up being a better alternative to the parking lots around the city. Though many meters allow you to pay online using the Green P application, some spots are cash-only. This is why it’s important to stop by a nearby ATM before you explore the downtown area.

2. Watch for Toronto streetcars

If you’ve been in Toronto before, you know streetcars are everywhere, especially in the downtown core. These vehicles are something you need to be extremely cautious of, in addition to the dozens of other cars on the road. Since the tracks of streetcars are located in the middle of the road, passengers need to step onto the road when boarding and getting off the streetcar. As a driver, it is your responsibility to make sure passengers exit without injury by stopping when a streetcar is in front of you. Not only is passing a stopped streetcar dangerous, it is illegal, and can result in large fines if caught. In addition to this, you need to be weary of streetcar-only driving lanes, as many drivers can confuse them with roadways.

3. Be weary of Toronto busses

Similar to streetcars, busses are also a very viable method of transportation for Torontonians. This is why no matter where you are, you’ll have to be on the lookout for them. It is important to remember that if a bus is signaling their intent to merge into traffic, it is your responsibility as a driver to yield to the bus and allow them to do so. Busses will do this every couple of blocks in order to pick up and drop off passengers at their stops. So, not being aware of this can end in a very serious accident.

4. Take extra caution around bike lanes and cyclists

As mentioned above, parking can be something that is hard to come by in the city of Toronto. Due to this, it can be tempting to want to park your car in one of the many bike lanes located around the city. However, this is a giant mistake. Even if only exiting your car for a few minutes, not only is parking in a bike lane dangerous, but it can lead to some serious fines.

As of late, the city has been cracking down heavily on culprits, so your best bet is to park in a designated parking spot. Remember, paying for parking will always be cheaper than the fines you’ll have to pay if caught parking in a bike lane. Additionally, it is in your best interest when driving in Toronto to be on the lookout for cyclists on tight roads. After all, they do have the right of way!

5. Avoid left-hand turns when possible

This tip is mainly for those who drive predominantly in the downtown core. For many streets, turning left is prohibited during rush hour, with some intersections not allowing them altogether. Unfortunately, these signs can sometimes be easy to miss. Even if you feel confident in your mapping skills, putting your destination into your GPS can help you avoid any problems. Similar to the above tips, not obeying this rule can not only be very dangerous to pedestrians and drivers around you, but land you some serious fines for careless driving.

6. Look out for Toronto’s one-way streets

Several streets in Toronto are one-way only. If you aren’t familiar with streets beforehand, this can cause some serious travel problems. Depending on where you are in the city, it is always important to use a GPS. This way, you won’t accidentally turn onto a street you shouldn’t. Wellington Street and Richmond Street are examples of roads that only run west. Adelaide Street, on the other hand, runs only eastbound. Since these streets are always jam-packed during rush hour, making the mistake of turning onto one the wrong way can be dangerous. Additionally, it can extend travel time if you are in a hurry because you will have to detour.

7. Take Toronto transit if necessary

Let’s face it, driving in Toronto can be daunting! If you aren’t ready to do so, there are always alternatives available. If you recently got your licence or are an inexperienced driver, it’s probably best for you to avoid driving downtown. Driving in Toronto is much different than other cities in Ontario. This can lead to some accidents if you aren’t totally prepared.

With the TTC available through all hours of the night, many people opt to use this instead. It can make commuting throughout the city a breeze without the hassle of having to be behind the wheel. If you aren’t from the city, there are many options to get there! GO busses and trains, as well as VIA rail, are  great methods of getting to and from the city without worrying about hassles, such as parking or Toronto traffic.

8. Always be prepared!

Whether you are driving in Toronto, or any other city in Ontario, accidents do happen! This is why it is always crucial to be prepared with reliable and affordable car insurance in Toronto. If you are in the market for a new car insurance provider, or are looking to up your coverage, contact us or request a quote today!

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