What’s New on Québec Roads?
Roundabouts, right turns on red, the Move-Over Law… for all motorists – and not only for seniors – these are changes that should be well understood in order to drive safely.
Roundabouts, also called traffic circles or rotaries, are intersections made up of a central island around which 1, 2, 3 or 4 traffic lanes merge in a star-shaped pattern.
Roundabouts are a type of road design that is much safer than intersections with stop signs, because:
- they encourage speed reduction
- they reduce the number and severity of accidents
- they regulate the flow of traffic, as vehicles enter the roundabout when the way is clear
“Roundabout ahead” sign
“Yield to traffic in roundabout” sign
Roundabout destination direction sign
How to drive in a roundabout
- Always enter a roundabout to your right.
- Yield the right of way to motorists who are already in the roundabout.
- If there are pedestrian crosswalks, yield the right of way to pedestrians.
Driving techniques for using roundabouts
- Slow down – When approaching a roundabout, slow down and look at the signs. Be ready to come to a complete stop if:
- a pedestrian is already crossing the street or is getting ready to do so
- a vehicle or a cyclist is already in the roundabout on your left
- Yield – Before entering the roundabout, yield the right of way to vehicles that are already travelling in the roundabout on your left. They have priority.
- Enter – Enter the roundabout on your right when the way is clear.
- Drive – Follow the direction of traffic. Do not pass or stop except in the case of an emergency, for example to avoid a collision.
- Exit the roundabout:
- indicate your intention to exit by using your right turn signal light
- exit the roundabout after making sure that there are no pedestrians crossing the street
In Québec, right turns on red lights are not allowed everywhere. You must obey traffic signs and understand the basic rules to ensure your own safety and the safety of others.
Are right turns on red allowed? Look carefully at the signs
Concerning the prohibition from turning right on red on the island of Montréal
Traffic signs indicating the prohibition from turning right on red have been installed at Montréal points of entry, including bridges, tunnels, ferries and the airport.
In the city of Québec and elsewhere in the province
Turning right at a red light is allowed, unless otherwise indicated.
Right turns on red may be prohibited at all times
For safety reasons, turning right on red is prohibited at all times at intersections that are deemed dangerous. A traffic sign indicates the prohibition.
Right turns on red may be prohibited during specific periods
If the prohibition concerns a particular time of day or specific days or months, a tab is added under the first sign.
How to turn right on a red light
If you are a driver or cyclist
- Coming to a full stop is mandatory.
- Come to a stop behind the stop line or pedestrian crossing.
- Remember, a pedestrian who is authorized to enter the intersection has the right of way.
- Make sure you are allowed to make a right turn on a red light.
- Yield the right of way to pedestrians or to road vehicles and cyclists that have entered or are about to enter the intersection.
- Look in your right rearview mirror and check your right blind spot to make sure no pedestrians or cyclists are present.
- You are not required to turn right at a red light. If you decide to do so, you can turn when the lane is free of traffic.
Cyclists and turning right on red: be extra careful
Cyclists must come to a full stop before turning right at a red light, where permitted. Check your surroundings and make sure it is safe for you to go.
The Highway Safety Code applies to you as well
If you turn right on red where it is not permitted or do not come to a full stop before turning, you are liable to a fine as well as demerit points, even if you do not hold a driver's licence.
If you are a pedestrian
You must always be particularly vigilant at intersections where turning right at a red light is permitted.
Stop on the sidewalk or side of the road, if there is no sidewalk.
Look left, ahead, right and over your left shoulder to make sure no vehicles or cyclists are about to turn right on a red light.
Once you are certain the way is clear and the traffic light authorizes you to enter the intersection, you can cross.
When do pedestrians have the right of way?
- If there is a pedestrian traffic light, they have the right of way when the white pedestrian signal appears.
- If there is no pedestrian traffic light, they have the right of way at a green light.
The Move-Over Law specifies that motorists must leave a buffer lane between their vehicle and a vehicle stopped on the side of the road.
This allows people (police officers, construction workers, etc.) who must carry out interventions on the road to work in a safer space.
You must obey the Move-Over Law when one of the following vehicles is stopped and its yellow arrow light, or its rotating or flashing lights are activated:
- police vehicle
- fire department vehicle
- Contrôle routier Québec vehicle
- tow truck
- surveillance vehicle equipped with a yellow arrow light
Driving techniques to create a buffer lane
Vehicle stopped on the shoulder, with its rotating or flashing lights activated
Buffer lane on a 2-lane road
Create a buffer lane by slowing down and moving away from the vehicle, while remaining in the same traffic lane.
Last update: May 19, 2022