No road trip through Eastern Canada is complete without some time spent experiencing the incredible scenic beauty and distinct cultures of la belle province. It’s true; some of the best that this country has to offer is proudly Quebecois, and you oughta see as much of it as possible! Before you set out however, there are a few differences when it comes to driving in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada. You don’t want the only souvenir of your road trip to be a ticket, right? We thought so. That’s why it’s important that you school yourself on some of our unique rules of the road. Read on and learn what you need to know.
Turns out you can right on a red light…with one exception.
Somehow it’s entered Canadian folklore that turning right on a red light is illegal in Quebec. This is untrue, although it didn’t always used to be. In 2003 nearly all of Quebec dropped legislation that outlawed red light right turns except for the island of Montreal, where it remains an offence that’ll result in a fine and a loss of three demerit points. Ouch. Another red light restriction in the province prohibits detours over private property (parking lots, etc.) in order to avoid compliance with a traffic sign or signal. Getting caught cutting corners in this way will end up with you being about $100 poorer. Double ouch!
Driving in Quebec: learn your lanes
In Quebec, passing occurs in the left lane, exclusively; that’s all it’s for. Unlike other provinces in Canada, where the stipulation is that slower vehicles are to keep right, saving the left lane for higher speed traffic and vehicles that intend to pass, left lanes on highways with a posted speed limit of 80 km/h or higher are designated passing lanes. This means that they exist for the exclusive purpose of passing and for the occasional left turn. While traffic laws in other provinces might be relatively neutered when it comes to enforcing lane restrictions, in Quebec driving in the left lane of the highway, even if you’re the only vehicle on the road, amounts to a $60 fine accompanied by fees. You can’t pass while travelling in the right lane, either. Nice try.
Flick those four-ways
On Quebec roads, driving at low speeds that might obstruct normal traffic is forbidden. In situations where driving well under the speed limit is necessitated by circumstance motorists are required to engage their four-way hazard flashers. Failing to obey proper protocol while driving under the posted speed limit will land you a minimum fine of $100, not including additional service and processing fees. Most basically, its important to remember that, when driving in Quebec, slow vehicles have to drive with their flashers on. Coincidentally, our expert team at Langois VW happens to be more than willing and able to help you ensure your vehicle, and especially your four-way flashers are in tip-top working order. Visit us or book a service appointment online today!
The low-down on demerits
While rules that prohibit leaving children under the age of seven unattended in vehicles, or that prevent motorcyclists from riding side-by-side and cyclists from riding in rows of numbering more than 15 are accompanied by fines, they don’t entail demerits. But what about those traffic offences that do? Are they transferable between provinces and states? The answer is not necessarily. For out-of-province drivers, whether or not demerits earned in Quebec will follow you home depends on where home is for you. For drivers from Ontario, Maine or New-York state, for instance, demerits from traffic infractions committed in Quebec are able to be transferred onto a motorist’s record. Outside of these places, Quebec does not have reciprocal agreement with other jurisdictions when it comes to offences of this nature. While you might think yourself lucky that your home-province or state doesn’t have such an agreement with Quebec, its always good to leave the province with a clean driving slate. You never know, you might be back one day!
Know what to Quebexpect when it comes to driving in Quebec!
Of course, its always smart to do your own research before setting out on a road trip. In the case of Quebec, there are certain things to be mindful of that might not occur to out-of-province drivers. We’ve listed a few of the more unique differences that you’ll want to be aware of in order to remain ticket or citation-free while driving in Quebec. For helpful non-road related tips for planning a trip through our beautiful slice of Canada, Tourism Quebec’s bilingual website has loads of travel suggestions and information on topics ranging from provincial statutory holidays to taxes and tipping practices. So what are you waiting for? Get your car packed, your maps out and come for a visit. You may never want to leave!