You need a valid driver's licence to drive a car in Canada, and these are issued by the province or territory where you live. Your foreign driver's licence may be valid for a short time after you arrive in Canada, but eventually you will need to take a Canadian driving test to remain licensed. This will help you to learn about the rules of the road in Canada. You may also want to obtain an International Driving Permit. Find out more from your provincial ministry of transportation or from your provincial motor vehicle licensing agency. Driving lessons are available from private companies, for a fee. You may want to have a few lessons before you take your test. Look in the yellow pages under driving Instruction.?
Remember: It is a legal requirement to carry your driver's licence with you whenever you drive. You should also carry your car registration and vehicle permit with you. It is good advice to carry a copy of your car insurance certificate.
Cars can cost a lot of money, whether they are used or new. Make sure you can afford the upkeep, the gas, the monthly payments and the costs of registering and insuring it. Some Canadians lease cars if they don't have enough money to buy one. Leasing can be handy, but there are a number of hidden costs involved, such as administrative fees or handling taxes. Whichever option you choose, make sure you understand exactly what your financial obligations are.
Car insurance is another major expense. All cars must be registered with the provincial
motor vehicle licensing agency where you live, and must be insured. This is the law. Car
insurance can be expensive, but it protects you and other drivers in case of an accident.
You buy insurance through private insurance companies, listed in the yellow pages
under insurance. Some provinces also sell insurance through provincial corporations.
Shop around for the best rates. An accident-free record will help you get a better
insurance rate. In most provinces, you can obtain more information by calling the toll-free
number of the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-800-361-5131 or visit their
website at http://www.ibc.ca.
Use of seat belts
You and your passengers must wear seat belts at all times when you are driving in Canada. This is the law. The use of a seat belt can save your life in an accident, and you can be fined for not wearing one.
Babies and children who are too small to wear seat belts safely must be placed in car seats whenever you drive. These can also help to save lives in case of an accident. There are different types of car seats for different ages and weights. For example, infants must be placed in special seats that face the back of the car. Children over 18 kg need a booster seat.
Call 911 or your local emergency number right away if you need medical help. Stay where you are, and get someone to call the police. You should also report the accident immediately to your car insurance company. It is also important to exchange your name, address, and telephone number, as well as your insurance and driver's licence numbers with the other driver. Never leave the scene of an accident, especially if you have hit someone. This is a serious offence known as "hit-and-run."
Contact the public transit organizations, provincial ministries of transportation, provincial motor vehicle licensing offices or insurance associations listed in the telephone book.