In the province of Ontario, road rules are strictly enforced to keep those travelling on our roadways safe. For new drivers and drivers new to Canada, education and awareness is key to a driver’s ability to avoid traffic collisions. Keeping this in mind, we’ve gathered some of the more common Ontario road rules to help everyone stay safe on the roads.
Causes of collisions
Most collisions are due to driver error or behaviours. These habits include following too closely, speeding, failure to yield the right of way, improper turns, running red lights and frequently changing lanes. There are also drivers who intentionally put others at risk through reckless behaviour. Statistics show that new drivers of all ages are far more likely to be involved in serious or fatal collisions than those with experience.
New drivers in Ontario
Young drivers and new drivers continue to have the most noticeable traffic collision statistics. This is largely due to the fact that these drivers may not be familiar with all the rules of the road. Of course, there may be a number of reasons for traffic collisions. In general, collisions are typically due to a driver failing to abide by Ontario’s road rules. Law enforcement officials and other organizations have been increasingly promoting driver safety and issuing traffic citations. This has resulted in the decrease in accidents as of late.
Ontario road rules
We’ve outlined some common rules of the road that drivers in Ontario should be aware of:
- Always drive in the right lane of traffic. The left-hand lanes should be left open for passing cars. But as many can attest, this doesn’t always happen.
- Do not use handheld devices while driving. This would qualify as distracted driving. It’s illegal to use your phone or any other handheld device while you’re driving or stopped at a red light.
- Drivers must be over the age of 16 to drive. Residents of Ontario must be at least 16-years-old and have a valid Ontario driver’s license to drive in this province.
- Drivers must possess proper licenses for vehicles driven.
- Obey all posted speed limits. Where there are no posted speed limits, the maximum speed is 50 km/h in cities, towns and villages, and 80 km/h elsewhere.
- Slow and pull your vehicle to the right of the road for all emergency vehicles with their lights on. Failing to observe Ontario’s Move over laws can result in a ticket between $400 and $2,000, three demerit points and a possible suspension of your license.
Breaking an Ontario traffic law may result in serious penalties and fines, while may result in a license suspension or an officer taking your car away.
Many visitors to Ontario may not recognize our road rules. Visitors from other provinces or from the United States may not be familiar to rules specific to Ontario roads. This failure to recognize the rules may result in an accident. It is important to note that if you have a valid license from your home country, you’ll probably be able to use this to drive in Canada for a short time after you arrive. Check with the government of the province or territory for details. There are two different types of drivers licenses these visitors must have to drive on our roadways. These driver’s licenses are different for drivers visiting for less than three months, and those visiting for over three months. The following differentiates the two:
Visiting less than three months
Those visiting the province of Ontario for less than three months may drive with a valid drivers’ license from their own province, state or country. These drivers are also required to be at least 16 years of age, have insurance coverage for their vehicle, carry verification of vehicle ownership, obey traffic laws and drive safely to avoid collisions.
Visiting more than three months
Those visiting for over three months will need an International Drivers Permit (IDP) from their own country. This permit allows motorists to drive their vehicle internationally when accompanied by a valid driver’s license from their country. This permit will need to be obtained prior to visiting Ontario, and cannot be applied for once the visitor is here. An IDP will give you a translation of your license into French and English.
Obtaining a driver’s license
The process to get a driver’s license in Canada depends on the province or territory where you live and on your driving background. It may include:
- A written exam on the rules of the road (you can get a study guide to help with this)
- One or two driving tests
Note: If you are new to Canada, you may choose to pay for driving lessons to get ready for the driving tests.
It is illegal to drive without car insurance in Canada. If you own a car, you must get insurance coverage. If a relative or friend visiting you drives your car, make sure they’re listed on your policy for the duration of their stay.
You can get different types of car insurance plans, including coverage for either or both:
- Injuries to yourself and damage to your car or
- The costs of damages and injury to others if you’re at fault in an accident
Your car insurance cost depends on the plan you choose and your:
- Driving record
- Living location
- Driving experience
With recent COVID-19 restrictions lifting, staying safe on the road is more important than ever. The increase of traffic levels are back to pre-pandemic levels, which means we can all benefit from a refresher of some of the more common Ontario road rules. Hopefully they will help everyone stay safe while driving!
If you have any questions regarding your car insurance, or have friends or relatives visiting form out of province/country, contact one of our isure representatives to ensure you (and they) have the proper coverage.