Modes of Transportation - In an Automobile

Sharing the Road

When driving, certain basic rules ensure the safety of other road users. Those rules must be obeyed at all times. Sharing the road with other users means obeying the Highway Safety Code. Everyone can learn to share the road!

Courtesy applies to everyone: drivers, cyclists and pedestrians

On the road network, being courteous and respecting others are very important to avoid conflict and accidents.

In most cases, things you might consider merely a question of courtesy are actually required by the Highway Safety Code, such as using your turn signal lights, yielding the right of way and avoiding honking for no reason.

Showing a lack of courtesy can include…

  • Tailgating.
  • Cutting off another vehicle.
  • Refusing to yield the right of way.
  • Honking repeatedly and for no reason.
  • Narrowly missing cyclists when passing them.
  • Stopping on the pedestrian crosswalk at an intersection.

Showing courtesy on 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. Doing so can help 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.

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

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

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Garder ses distances (in French only)

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When another vehicle passes you

If another vehicle is passing you, or about to pass you, don’t speed up! Doing so is prohibited by the Highway Safety Code and can lead to a fine of $200 to $300 and 2 demerit points. Out of courtesy, you can slow down to make it easier for the other vehicle to pass.

Signaling your intentions is mandatory

Whether you are driving a vehicle or riding a bicycle, 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.

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

  • a fine of $30 to $60 for the driver of a road vehicle
  • a fine of $15 to $30 for a cyclist

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Signaler ses intentions (in French only)

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When sharing the road with a cyclist

  • Keep your distance. The Highway Safety Code requires that you 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
  • Anticipate a cyclist's movements. Cyclists sometimes have to make last-minute manoeuvres to avoid obstacles.
  • Check your rearview mirrors to make sure no cyclists are coming before opening your door.
  • Be careful at intersections: cyclists are sometimes hidden by other vehicles.
  • Yield the right of way to cyclists crossing the lane you are about to turn into.
  • Don't honk when you are near cyclists. You may startle them, which may cause them to make a false move.

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

Sharing the road with pedestrians

  • Stop before the stop line at intersections and pedestrian crosswalks.
  • Respect the right of way of pedestrians at intersections and before turning right at a red light.
  • Respect the road signs and signals for pedestrians, such as pedestrian lights.
  • Make a hand gesture to let pedestrians who are waiting to cross know you have seen them.
  • Keep your headlights on, especially in low-visibility weather conditions, to make sure you can see and be seen.

Not giving pedestrians the right of way

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

  • a fine of $100 to $200
  • up to 3 demerit points, depending on the offence committed

Sharing the road with heavy vehicles

  • Leave more space than usual when you stop behind a heavy vehicle. When the heavy vehicle driver takes his or her foot off the brake in order to engage the clutch, the vehicle may move backward if it is carrying a heavy load.
  • Leave a heavy vehicle with enough space to turn and don’t cut off the driver before he or she has finished making the turn. When turning right, the driver may have to first veer to the left, which may be confusing.
  • Avoid positioning yourself in a heavy vehicle’s blind spots, especially at intersections. If you can’t see the driver’s rearview mirrors, the driver can’t see you either.
  • If you are in front of a heavy vehicle, make sure you leave enough space between you and the heavy vehicle and signal your intentions ahead of time. Heavy vehicles need a lot of space to brake.
  • Don’t rely on your horn to signal your presence to a heavy vehicle driver: the driver won’t hear you.
  • When you pass a heavy vehicle, beware of the air turbualance it can cause. Plan for more time and space than it would take to pass an automobile.

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Le partage de la route avec les véhicules lourds (in French only)

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Les jeunes conducteurs et la sécurité routière (in French only)

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Sharing the road with school buses

The greatest risks to a child’s safety are found outside the school bus and come from either the bus itself or the surrounding traffic.

When a school bus turns on its flashing lights or deploys its stop sign, you must stop at least 5 metres from the bus, whether you are travelling in the same direction or approaching from the opposite direction.

Offenders face:

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

Exception

You are not required to stop when you are approaching a school bus that is in a lane separated from yours by a median.

Sharing the road with emergency vehicles

You must yield the right of way to any emergency vehicle whose sound-producing device or lights are in operation. It is important to stay calm, locate the emergency vehicle, slow down, pull over as far to the right as possible and, if necesssary, stop.

Offenders face:

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

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Que faire en présence d'un véhicule d'urgence (in French only)

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The Move-Over Law

When an emergency vehicle, a tow truck or a surveillance vehicle is stopped and its arrow light or its rotating or flashing lights are activated, you must:

  • slow down and move over as far as possible from the stopped vehicle, but only once you have made sure you can do so safely
  • if necessary, stop your vehicle so as to not jeopardize the lives or safety of others

Offenders face:

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

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 person 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.
  • The “conversation” has gotten off to a bad start? Don’t respond, whether verbally or with gestures.
  • If the other person begins tapping on 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, should you need it.
  • Avoid going home. If an aggressive driver is following you, you don’t want that person to know where you live!

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