Driving in British Columbia is similar to driving in many parts of the U.S. and of course in any other province of Canada. However, if you move to British Columbia from any other country driving here may look completely different to you.

In case you are wondering......

>> You may need an International Driver's Permit, especially if your license is in another language. U.S. driver's licenses are valid in Canada.

>> Proof of auto insurance is required. U.S. auto insurance is NOT accepted in British Columbia unless you are visiting as a tourist.

>> Avoid impaired driving; driving when impaired can cause suspension of your driver's permit.

>>Driving in Canada is done on the right-hand side of the road, as opposed to countries like Japan, UK, India.

>> Canada uses the metric system for measurements speed limits and distances are posted in kilometers. (1 mile = 1.6 kilometres) Speed is quoted in kilometres per hour. Make sure you understand your speedometer correctly if you normally use M/h.

>> The legal speed limit in city regions is: 50km/h = 31m/h.
Freeways speed limits are usually: (N 1, 99, 91) 80 km/h = 49 mph, and 100 km/h = 62 m/h.
Highway speed limits are between: ( 7, 7b, etc) 60 km/h and 70 km/h .
Speed limits in school zones and around playgrounds are: 30 km/h = 18 m/h.
Speed limit in construction zones is: 30 km/h (if no speed limit is posted).

In most cases speed limits will be posted.

ATTENTION: fines for speeding are doubled in construction zones, school zones and playground zones

>> Seatbelts are mandatory for both drivers and passengers. Infant or child car seat is required for children weighing up to 18 kg (40 pounds).  You can receive a fine of $167 for not wearing a seatbelt.

>> It is mandatory to drive with your head lights on day and night. Most of the vehicles in North America have automatic daytime running lights.

>> It is legal to turn right on a red light. STOP FIRST and make sure it's safe to turn. PLEASE do your shoulder check to make sure you won't hit pedestrians or cyclist. BE CAREFULL when crossing the street on foot. Check for a car turning right.

>> Flashing green light in BC means that this intersection is controlled by the pedestrian. YOU CAN GO, IT'S GREEN FOR YOU. The light will remain flashing green until a pedestrian pushes the button to cross the street. Oncoming traffic towards you will also see a flashing green light.

>> Minor intersections (usually in resedential area or less busy intersections) are regulated by 4 WAY and 3 WAY STOPS. No matter the side you come to the intersection from a STOP sign will be present. Bring your car to a complete stop and allow vehicals that arrived first to go first. (Doesn't matter which direction they go. First come, first go). If two cars arrive at the intersection at the same time, the car to the right has precedence.

>> Major streets and highways may have lanes known as "Diamond Lanes" (a diamond shape sign will be painted on the ground) or H.O.V's (high occupancy lanes). They are generally reserved for busses, taxis, and/or bicycles. Posted sign will indicate which vehicles are allowed on the Diamond lanes and when (designated time and day). However, you can use these lanes to turn at the intersection.

>> Vancouver drivers are courteous. We stop for pedestrians even if they are jay-walking. At crosswalks and corners, the pedestrian has the right of way. BE ALLERT: sometimes pedestrians don't check for traffic before they cross the street.

>> You must always yield to a police car, fire truck and ambulance when their emergency lights are flashing.  You must pullover to the right and stop.

>> It is prohibited to use any handheld portable electronic device while driving. Use a hand free set if you need to call or answer a call while driving or pullover.

Good luck and we hope you will enjoy to drive in BC.


When you plan your trip, it's good idea to check few things before to go:

  • Road conditions
  • Possible incidents on the road
  • Current or planed events (construction works)

You can do this:

  • on-line at DriveBC or AM 730
  • by phone: 1-(800)550-4997 (no-fee automated phone service)
  • tune your car radio to AM 730
  • For FERRY schedules, reservations and more visit FerryLineups
  • Plan to cross US border? For border wait time check BorderLineups
  • comming soon

Q: Can I start in-car training before I pass my knowledge test?
A: No, You should pass the knowledge test before you can start in-car training. You may practice your knowledge skills on-line Here or at the ICBC web site.  Do not forget to read your Road Sense Book before you go for a test :)  If you do not have one just go to one of the ICBC Licensing Office and ask for it, or you can read it on-line.

Q: What do I need to bring for my first lesson?
A: Your Driver License should be with you at each lesson. You do not need to bring your "L" or "N" sign. You should wear eyeglasses or contacts if required.

Q: Should I pay for a full package ahead? 
A: No. We prefer if you pay in advance, but if you are not able to do so we will accept payments for each lesson.

Q: Which ICBC branch should I chose for my road test? 
A: Take your road test in a area you live. You are more familiar with this area. You will feel more confident and relaxed during your road test. There is no "easy locations". If you are not ready for your road test you will not pass it by choosing "easy location".


Begining of January 1, 2010 use of any handheld portable electronic device while driving will be subject to a $167 fine and a penalty of three points. New Drivers, with a driver license of class 7'N", are not permitted to use any electronic devices while driving, including hands free.Read more at Drive Cell Safe


No driver's license/wrong class - $138, 3 pt
Fail to yield to pedestrian - $167, 2 pt
Speed in school zone - $196-253, 3 pt 
Speed in playground zone - $196-253, 3 pt 
Open door while unsafe - $81, 2pt
Read more>>

TOP 10 Crash Locations in Lower Mainland, BC, 2006

1. Trans-Canada Highway and Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby (352 crashes) 
2. Knight Street and Southeast Marine Drive, Vancouver (304 crashes) 
3. Knight Street Bridge, Richmond (257 crashes) 
4. Brunette Avenue and Trans-Canada Highway, Coquitlam (222 crashes) 
5. Lions Gate Bridge, West Vancouver (217 crashes) 
6. Alex Fraser Bridge, Delta (203 crashes) 
7. 152nd Street and Trans-Canada Highway, Surrey (201 crashes)
8. Gaglardi Way and Trans-Canada Highway, Burnaby (196 crashes) 
9. 88th Avenue and King George Highway, Surrey (185 crashes) 
10. Pattullo Bridge, Surrey (177 crashes) 
Published: 3/19/2008 Source: The Province