Everyone is reponsible for sharing the road

The road is a public space where people use various means of transportation. The same person may use the road as a pedestrian, cyclist and driver, all on the same day. It is in everyone’s best interest to safely and harmoniously share the road.

Everyone Has a Role to Play in Sharing the Road

On the road network, watching out for others and respecting the rules are very important to avoid conflict and collisions.

Many actions that facilitate road sharing are actually required by the Highway Safety Code, such as: 

  • using your turn signal lights or hand signals (as a cyclist)
  • yielding the right of way when obligated to do so
  • avoiding honking for no reason
  • cutting off another vehicle
  • avoiding stopping on the pedestrian crosswalk at an intersection

Properly sharing the road means...

  • treating other road users with respect and tolerance, whether they be other drivers, pedestrians or cyclists
  • raising a hand to thank someone who made things easier for you
  • making a sorry gesture when you make an error to prevent conflict
  • keeping your cool under all circumstances
  • keeping a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you
  • leaving enough space for cyclists and pedestrians

Conditions that favour road sharing

For safe and harmonious road sharing, follow these recommendations:

  • Don't drive when you are tired, nervous, stressed or overly emotional, such as after an argument or hearing bad news.
  • Leave a little earlier and before driving off, check traffic in real time on several websites or apps, such as Transports Québec's traffic webcams, Google Maps, Waze, etc.
    • Remember! It is strictly prohibited to use a cell phone or other electronic devices while driving. This is strictly prohibited. However, some alternatives exist. Find out more!
  • Use less busy roads.
  • Avoid tense conversations with passengers.

Cooperate with other drivers, for example by making things easier for them when changing lanes.

Watch out for pedestrians: they are vulnerable

When approaching a pedestrian, motorists must slow down and keep the following distance between their vehicle and the pedestrian:

  • 1 m in zones of 50 km/h or less
  • 1.5 m in zones of more than 50 km/h

Approaching a pedestrian without slowing down or without keeping a reasonable distance of 1 m or 1.5 m is an offence under the Highway Safety Code that can lead to:

  •  a fine of $200 to $300
  • 2 demerit points

Yielding the right of way to pedestrians

Motorists must be vigilant, especially at pedestrian crosswalks and at intersections.

Pedestrian crosswalks

At pedestrian crosswalks, motorists must stop their vehicles as soon as a pedestrian enters the crosswalk or clearly indicates the intention to do so. This is the case, for example, when:

  • the pedestrian is waiting on the sidewalk next to the pedestrian crosswalk
  • the pedestrian makes a hand gesture indicating the desire to cross
  • eye contact is made

It is preferable to make a hand gesture to let pedestrians know they can cross.


Motorists must:

  • stop before the stop line or pedestrian crossing or, if there is no crossing, the edge of the roadway of the cross street
  • yield the right of way to pedestrians, in particular before turning right on a red light

Not yielding the right of way to pedestrians when turning at an intersection is an offence that can lead to:

  • a fine of $100 to $200
  • 2 demerit points

Watch out for cyclists: they are vulnerable

Motorists should leave enough space between their vehicle and cyclists. This helps prevent accidents if ever a cyclist needs to make a sudden manoeuvre, for example to go around a sewer grate or a hole in the pavement.

If you must pass a cyclist, slow down and keep a distance between your vehicle and the cyclist of:

  • 1 metre in zones of 50 km/h or less
  • 1.5 metres in zones of more than 50 km/h

Passing a cyclist without slowing down or when there isn’t a reasonable distance of 1 m or 1.5 m

This is an offence under the Highway Safety Code that can lead to:

  • a fine of $200 to $300
  • 2 demerit points

Signaling your intentions is mandatory

Signaling your intentions is not an option but an obligation. It lets other road users know what you are planning to do, such as turn, change lanes, pass another road user, etc. Even when you are riding a bike, you are obligated to signal your intentions, unless you are unable to safely do so.

Not signaling your intentions is an offence under the Highway Safety Code that can lead to:

  • a fine of $100 to $200 for the driver of a road vehicle
  • a fine of $80 to $100 for a cyclist

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Signaler ses intentions (in French only)

Keeping a safe distance is mandatory

For safety reasons, and for proper road sharing, it’s necessary to keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

Image illustrating how to keep a safe distance on a road with fast-moving traffic.

A safe distance is the distance you must travel to reach a reference point in a certain amount of time:

  • In the city
    We recommend 4 seconds or longer
  • On a road where traffic moves faster
    We recommend 6 seconds or longer
  • On a wet, icy or snow-covered roadway
    We recommend 8 to 10 seconds or longer

You should ideally increase this distance when visibility is reduced (at night, in rain, in fog) or when driving on dangerous surfaces (gravel roads, or slippery or damaged roads).

Tailgating another vehicle is an offence under the Highway Safety Code and may result in:

  • a fine of $100 to $200
  • 2 demerit points

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Garder ses distances (in French only)

Staying a safe distance away from heavy vehicles

Heavy vehicles have bigger blind spots than cars and they have a much longer braking distance.

Give them enough space to brake and signal your intentions in advance to give heavy vehicle drivers the opportunity to adjust their driving.

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Circuler près des véhicules lourds (in French only)

How to deal with an aggressive driver

A driver is tailgating you

Let that person pass.

  • If you are in the left lane, move over to the right lane, provided you can do so safely.
  • Look straight ahead. It’s important to keep your eyes on the road and not on the driver tailgating you.
  • Don’t react to provocation, flashing headlights or honking. You will avoid increasing the tension between you and the other driver.

Someone gets out of a vehicle and comes toward you

  • Stay in your vehicle, roll up the windows and lock the doors.
  • Don’t respond, whether verbally or with gestures.
  • If the other person begins hitting your vehicle, breathe deeply and figure out how you can drive away safely. Drive calmly to an area where you will be able to get help.
  • Avoid going home. If an aggressive driver is following you, it is better that they do not find out where you live.

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Last update: June  4, 2022