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Ontario, Quebec driving laws similar to New York

June 2, 2012
By DAVE WERNER , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Since Franklin County borders Quebec and Ontario provinces, it is prudent to know the similarities and the differences in their vehicle and traffic laws and regulations. You should also be aware that both of these provinces have reciprocity with New York state, meaning any traffic ticket you may receive in Quebec or Ontario counts on your New?York license as if you received the ticket in New York.

Other than measurements (speed, distance etc.) being metric, most warning signs pictorial, and signage in Quebec in French, for the most part, driving laws in these provinces are quite similar to ours. For instance, they have graduated licensing, a point system for violations, and requirements for child safety seats and booster seats. If you obey signals, signs, and pavement markings as you would in New York, driving is not much different than it is in New York. However, there are differences, and this article will attempt to review the most common ones.

One of the biggest differences is in their headlight requirements. Canada mandated in the 1990's that all new vehicles sold there would have daytime running lights, so for the most part their vehicles have lights on all the time. However, both provinces require full headlights on 1/2 hour before sunset until 1/2 hour after sunrise, a full hour more than we require at both sunset and sunrise.

For a stopped school bus with red lights flashing, you must stop 20 meters (about 65 feet) from the bus in Ontario, and 5 meters (16 feet) in Quebec. Unlike in New York, if a stopped school bus is on the opposite side of a divided highway with a median, you don't have to stop.

Traffic signals at intersections are similar to New York, although in Quebec, some signals are horizontal, but they mean the same. One difference in both provinces is that they often use a "flashing" green light, which means that you may go straight, right, or left, as oncoming traffic always has a red when you are facing a flashing green.

Parking laws have some differences that you should be aware of. For instance, in Quebec, it is mandatory to set your parking brake, remove the keys form the ignition, and lock your car. Also, it is illegal to leave a child less than seven years old in an unattended vehicle at any time. Further restrictions in Quebec include no parking less than 5 meters (16 feet) from a fire hydrant, an intersection or stop sign, a cross-walk, a police or fire station, a railroad crossing, or on any roadway with a speed limit greater than 70 kilometers per hour (42 mph).

Other differences or things in provincial vehicle and traffic regulations that you should be aware of include:

Both provinces require all occupants to wear seat belts and shoulder harnesses, except when backing. This includes back-seat passengers.

Right on Red is allowed in both provinces (in fact, in all of Canada) with one major exception - it's NOT allowed on the Island of Montreal, period.

On multi-lane roads, you must keep right except when passing or in preparation for a left turn.

Pedestrians in Quebec are not allowed to cross mid-block or diagonally across an intersection.

Radar detectors are prohibited in Quebec.

In Ontario, speeding over 50 KPH (30 mph) above the speed limit can get you immediate suspension of your license, impoundment of your vehicle, and fines between $2,000 and $10,000.

In Ontario, you must stop 2 meters (6 feet) behind the rear doors of a street car when it is loading or unloading passengers. Toronto has street cars.

In Quebec, a vertical white rectangular light on a black background is a bus priority signal buses may proceed while other vehicles must obey the simultaneous red signal.

Driving in Ontario and Quebec is very similar to driving in New York. Drive carefully and obey traffic laws as you should in New York and you will be fine.

For more articles on traffic law and safety, go to the traffic safety board's web site at: and click on "Traffic Safety Board" under departments.



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