Traffic Rule Differences

Driving all over Canada and the US, I’ve discovered that the rules of the road are fairly universal, but there are some variances. Here are three that I’ve encountered:

1) You can legally pass people on the right in California/it’s okay to drive slowly in the left lane;

2) Until very recently, you could not turn right on a red light in Quebec. The law was repealed so that you can now turn right on a red light in Quebec, except on the Island of Montreal and most intersections in the rest of the province. Even though I’ve spent most of my driving years in Ontario or on the border thereof, I still feel like I’m breaking the law when I turn right on a red light, or left on one at a one way street;

3) A flashing green in BC does not mean the same thing as a flashing green in Quebec and most of the rest of the continent, apparently. I learned this on Monday after nearly causing a ten car pile up, peeving off about ten drivers, being flipped off by about ten drivers, and having one driver make his opinion of my mental capacity very clear. In Quebec, a flashing green light means that the opposing drivers are sitting on a red light and I have the right of way to turn left. In BC, it means that the other drivers are also looking at a flashing green light, that I’m supposed to yield when making my turn, and that the light is pedestrian controlled. Oops. I apologize to everyone who was sitting at the corner of Kingsway and 10th in Vancouver on Monday morning around 11:30. I’m not an idiot or otherwise mentally deficient; I’m just from another province!

Bonus: your headlights must be on at all times when driving in the Yukon. *makes a mental note to stick a note by the door reminding myself to make sure I turned OFF the lights when I park Miranda*

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  • Yikes!! I’m glad you and the others on site at the time made it through the matter unharmed. I knew that difference, too. It’s too bad I didn’t think of it when we were discussing other cultural and local differences. Good for you for posting it, you could save lives!! BTW, Nova Scotia is the same as Quebec, though I can’t account for the other Maritime Provinces….

  • Just wanting to wish you a safe drive and a great trip up to the Yukon.

    By the way, I had some excitement this week.Out of the blue I got a call and was interviewed by Matt Gross, The Frugal Traveler, of the New York Times! Check it out on their official blog. It will be in this Sunday’s print edition as well. What an amazing boost for my website and e-books!

    Randy and I are starting to plan our next “big trip.” God, I live a charmed life! I am starting to quote your line from “Sorting It Out” because it’s so cool and so true for us: “There is life before retirement!”

  • Gypsy: I’m also relieved that no one got crunched, especially me!!! I think that there should be a big sign at the border into a new jurisdiction informing people to stop and read up on the traffic and legal differences!

    Marianne: Thanks for the good wishes! As for your big news: CONGRATS!!!!!!! I think you did a good job of pointing out some of the tremendous advantages to RVing.

    As for great boondocking spots not being advertised, you’re so right and I am finally learning to recognize them! My night at Chasm Provincial Park was my first experience my gaining confidence at camping without asking for permission.

  • […] encountered yet another difference in how things are done in this part of the country vs. in Quebec or […]

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