If you're thinking of a once-in-a-lifetime road trip across Canada from Newfoundland on the Atlantic all the way to British Columbia, on the Pacific coast, you are committing to a really long drive: It's a distance of 2,770 miles or 4,458 kilometers. Or you might just be considering a short jaunt across the Canadian-American border to Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, or Vancouver, or a scenic trip to the Canadian Niagara Falls or through the Canadian Rockies around Banff.
Regardless of the drive you're contemplating, you need to be aware of the driving rules and speed limits across Canada. Getting a ticket on vacation in a country where you're not a resident is not anyone's idea of a vacation highlight.
Canada expresses its limits and distances in kilometers (km/h), and so in any car that's been bought in the United States, you'll need to do your own conversion since your speedometer is in miles per hour, not kilometers. It's a good idea to print out a conversion so you can read signs in kilometers and know what that means on your speedometer.
Average Speed Limits Across Canada
You can expect speed limits similar to these across the country, but you should be aware that speed limits vary depending on what province or territory you are in, so if you are driving across provincial or territorial borders, pay attention to the speed limit signs on the side of the road as you cross the borders.
Most of these typical speed limits are very similar to the U.S., so it won't take much getting used to.
Speed Limit for Various Types of Driving
|Kilometers per hour||Miles per hour|
|You're driving too fast||120 kph||75 mph|
|Multi-lane highway driving||100 kph||62 mph|
|Most 2-lane highways outside cities and towns||80 kph||50 mph|
|Major roads in urban and suburban areas||60 to 70 kph||37 to 44 mph|
|Residential streets||40 to 50 kph||25 to 30 mph|
|School zones||30 to 50 kph||20 to 30 mph|
If You Don't Know the Limit
If the speed limit is not marked, drivers should keep to the provincially set speed limits as outlined in the speed limits in Canada table. Check at the Canadian border as you cross into Canada or at a rental car office if you're renting a car in the country for local speed limits and other road regulations.
Driver's License Rules
Drivers from other countries may need an International Driver's License to drive in Canada if they are on an extended visit, but generally, a license from your home country allows you to drive legally in Canada in the short term.