Canadians drive on the right side of the road (same as the U.S.) and use the metric system for distances and speeds, i.e. kilometers per hour rather than miles. Before driving in British Columbia familiarize yourself with the Rules of the Road.
DriveSmartBC is a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. The website keeps readers familiar with traffic law and up to date with the changes.
Speeds are clearly posted and are in kilometers per hour (km/hr).
All common fuels, unleaded gasoline, diesel and propane, are widely available at service stations in British Columbia and sold in litres. 4.5 litres = 1 Canadian gallon; 3.78 litres = 1 American gallon.
You must have a valid driving license from your country of origin and valid auto insurance to drive a vehicle in Canada. A driving license from any country is valid for the first six months of crossing the border, while an International Driving Permit (available in your home country) can be used for one year. Contact the Insurance Corporation of BC for more information.
Current road maps of British Columbia are available from British Columbia Visitor Centres throughout the province or can be purchased at gas stations and convenience stores.
For information on road conditions 24-hours a day contact the Ministry of Transportation at their DriveBC website. The information on the road reports pages provides the reported condition of a particular provincial road at the time the route was last checked. Online information is available for most major provincial highways. Users can also see web camera shots of conditions at many highway locations.
Severe weather, sudden temperature changes and snow or rainfall can cause road conditions to change rapidly. For this reason, the information provided by the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure may not reflect changes that have taken place since the last scheduled update.
Drivers are reminded to adjust their speed and driving actions to the conditions. Drive smart! Drive safe!
The DriveBC website also includes links to other sites of interest to the driving public such as Border Webcams and Highway Condition Webcams.
The use of safety belts (seat belts), vehicle child restraints, bicycle helmets, and motorcycle helmets is mandatory in British Columbia.
Impaired driving is a criminal offence; under Canadian law the limit for driving under the influence of alcohol is 0.08 but under BC law police can issue an impaired driver prohibition with a blood-alcohol content of 0.05 or higher. Breath samples may be requested by a police officer and refusing a test could also result in criminal charges.
If you are involved in an automobile accident contact the local police or Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) then contact your insurance company.
From late October to April the weather can serve up winter driving conditions in all parts of British Columbia. This varies from wet roads to fog to snow and ice. Colder temperatures always challenge a vehicle while winter driving demands the vehicle's best possible performance.
It is advisable to winterize your vehicle by having a qualified service centre check items such as anti-freeze, the battery, wiper blades, tread on tires and tune up the motor.
ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, provides great information on their web site on further actions to winterize your vehicle. In addition ICBC has driving tips for all road conditions you may encounter. For instance how to drive on icy or snowy roads:
Or the hidden dangers at zero degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia