Skip to main content

Drive Culture The most-asked questions from readers in 2018 about the rules of the road

An RCMP officer gestures for a driver to pull over during a one-day enforcement blitz after the driver was seen talking on a cellphone along King George Highway in Surrey, B.C. (File Photo).

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

The predictions were wrong: 2018 wasn’t the year that self-driving cars arrived to solve all our troubles on the road.

And your questions this year reflected that. Sure, you asked us more than ever about autonomous safety tech, plug-in hybrids and electric cars — but we still got plenty of old-school questions about confusing driving rules and ways to cope with lousy drivers (you know, everybody else on the road).

Here are a few of the things you asked about the most in 2018.

Story continues below advertisement

Will I get demerits from an out-of-province ticket?

It depends. If you’re caught speeding in Saskatchewan but you don’t live there, the ticket will show up on your driving record everywhere in Canada except British Columbia, Quebec and Nunavut.

Those are the three places that aren’t part of an agreement to share records of traffic violations with everybody else. Tickets from those places won’t show up on your home record, either.

Quebec and Ontario have their own agreement — so an Ontario driver would get demerits from a Quebec ticket, but drivers from other provinces wouldn’t.

So what happens if I don’t pay that out-of-province ticket?

If you don’t pay an out-of-province ticket, you probably won’t be pulled over and asked to pay it if you go back there.

"There’s no warrant that is issued,” says Cpl. Nancy Joyce, with the RCMP’s E Division traffic services in B.C. “They should pay it, though. My goodness.”

Story continues below advertisement

Instead, that province might send your unpaid ticket to a collections agency – or go through the Canada Revenue Agency and take the amount owing from GST rebates and income tax refunds.

Will I get a speeding ticket if I’m only going a few km/h over the limit?

“You know what my answer’s going to be,” said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, with the Ontario Provincial Police highway safety division. “Technically, anything over 100 km/h on an Ontario highway is breaking the law.”

That’s true in every province: there’re no ticket-proof speed. Police say tickets going 1-5 km/h over the limit are rare, but they happen.

And in six places – Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories – the fine goes up for each km/hr that you’re over the speed limit.

Isn’t the left lane just for passing?

Story continues below advertisement

Quebec is the only province that bans driving in the left-most lane on highways unless you're passing or turning left. In B.C., you have to get out of the left lane if another car is coming up behind you. But other places, including Alberta and Ontario, just require slower traffic to keep right.

Still, it’s a good idea to keep right unless you’re passing another car.

“If people are passing you on the right, then you’re not going with the flow of traffic and you’re in the wrong lane,” said Angelo DiCicco, with Young Drivers of Canada.

Which lane are you supposed to turn into?

When you’re turning at an intersection, stay in your lane.

If you’re turning right, turn into the rightmost lane, even if it’s ending. if you’re turning left, you have to turn into the lane closest to the left side. If there’s more than one turning lane, you stay in the lane you’re in.

Story continues below advertisement

Is safety tech actually making roads safer?

Safety tech is reducing crashes. But, it doesn’t always work – and, if you don’t know how to use it, it can be distracting.

“The bottom line is that some of this technology is working to prevent crashes,” said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). “But the systems are not 100-per-cent effective.”

I want a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), but can I still take it on a road trip?

Even the lowest-range PHEVs don’t come with range anxiety. They don’t have the electric range of pure electric vehicles — Chevy’s pure-electric Bolt gets 383 km on a charge while the PHEV Volt gets you 85 km.

But if a PHEV runs out of juice, you can just keep going on gas. If you didn’t charge it at all on the 2,400 km from Quebec to Florida, you’d still make it there — you just wouldn’t get the advertised fuel economy.

Story continues below advertisement

Have a driving question? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com. Canada’s a big place, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

Stay on top of all our Drive stories. We have a Drive newsletter covering car reviews, innovative new cars and the ups and downs of everyday driving. Sign up for the weekly Drive newsletter, delivered to your inbox for free. Follow us on Instagram, @globedrive.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter