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Driving Tips

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ImageSpeed limits:

Freeways      100 km/h (62 mph)
Trans-Canada routes     90 km/h (56 mph)
Urban and other Populated Areas     40 to 60 km/h (25 to 37 mph)

Like most other developed cities around the world, Montréal presents a confusing, and, at times, frustrating, driving experience to any non-resident or non-experienced drivers. It is preferable, and highly recommended, to go for one of the well-established public transport systems.

Firstly, all the road signs are primarily in French. Make sure you know what these signs mean. The highways and freeways around the city can also be quite a challenge as they contain a large number of signs in French. Therefore it is highly advised to learn these basic conventions before taking out your car:
North - Nord, East - Este, South - Sud, West - Ouest, Exit - Sortie, Bridge – Pont.

Making right hand turns on a red light is illegal in all of Montréal. Turning left is usually forbidden, with the exception of a flashing green light that indicates a permissible left turn at an intersection.

Distance as well as speed-limit signs are in metric units (km). Gas prices displayed at service stations are given per liter of gas. Gas stations are few and far apart in downtown Montreal, so it is advisable to fill up before a long trip. If renting a car, the agency should provide helpful information about the gas stations dotted around the city.

Most of the streets in the downtown area are one-way, which can confuse inexperienced drivers. At intersections, signs with direction arrows contained within a green circle indicate the only possible paths that you can take.

Some of the streets have special lanes for use only by taxis and buses during the peak timings. Driving in these lanes is forbidden for private vehicles during these times. A sign with a light and a red cross indicates this. If caught, private vehicles are charged with a fine. A white arrow indicates off-peak hours, when the lanes can be used by private cars as well.

Protective gear is a must for private commuters. Wearing a seatbelt is strictly compulsory in Montreal, even for the back-seaters. Motorcyclists have to wear a helmet.

Parking is usually charged, costing around $3 per hour or $25 for a full day.

It is inadvisable to park on the streets when snow is being cleared off the roads during the winter months. The snow-clearing machines and trucks give out a warning signal before cleaning out a part of the road, and it is expected that all parked cars be removed from the road right away. Failure to do so might cause the car to be towed to the nearest empty street with and a $100 fine, or impounding of the vehicle.

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