Safe Travel On Okanagan BC Roads

Okanagan Valley BC roads and highways are extremely busy in the summer months and can prove precarious for winter driving.

If you're visiting the Okanagan from out of country or province, you'll want to know about seatbelt and speed limit laws, and some general information about driving in BC.

And if you're out exploring in the backcountry along BC Forest Service roads you should be well prepared for some rougher road conditions.

Transport Canada is the Canadian federal government agency responsible for road safety, although each province or territory has the authority to establish its own traffic and safety laws.

Driving in Canada is similar to driving in many parts of the United States. Distances and speeds, however, are posted in kilometers per hour, rather than miles per hour.

bd roads speed limit sign kilometers per hour

About Driving In BC

  • In case you're Canada, we drive on the right hand side of the road.

  • Seatbelts are mandatory for drivers and passengers of motor vehicles, including RV's. You can receive a fine of up to $167 for not wearing a seatbelt, and that could dig in to your spending money!

  • It is wise to avoid impaired driving. Drinking & driving or impairment from other substances can cause suspension of your driver's permit, which could be disasterous when you're traveling.

  • U.S. driver's licenses are valid in Canada. Depending on where you are from, you may need an International Driver's Permit to operate a motor vehicle, and if your lisence is a language other than English, it's best to have an IDP.

  • Proof of auto insurance is required. U.S. auto insurance is accepted as long as an individual is a tourist in Canada. U.S. insurance firms will issue a Canadian insurance card, which should be obtained and carried prior to driving into the country.

  • Motorcycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia and must be worn by all riders on BC roads.

  • Visitors to British Columbia should note that an infant car seat is required for children weighing up to 9 kg (20 pounds). For BC residents, an infant or child car seat is required for children weighing up to 18 kg (40 pounds).

  • It is mandatory in the province of British Columbia to drive with your lights on. Many vehicles these days have automatic daytime running lights, which come on when a vehicle is started. Do yours?

  • If you have an accident on BC roads where someone is injured or there is an emergency the telephone 911 from a land line or cell phone.
Speed Limit Laws

Speed limit signs on BC roads are clearly posted in urban and rural areas, and we follow the metric standard of measurement for speed and distances.

Km/hr Mi/hr
30 18
50 31
80 49
100 62

1 kilometer (Km) = 0.62137 miles

Speed limits in local communities are generally 50 km/hr unless otherwise posted. Some speed zones of note are:

School zone and playground zones carry a 30 km/hr limit.

Highway speed limits are generally between 80 km/hr and 100 km/hr. Be sure to look for signs, which are well posted.

Highway construction zones speed limits are between 50 km/hr and 70 km/hr, usually, and fines for speeding double in work zones.

Drinking Driving Laws

Alcohol impairs our ability to operate a motor vehicle. Simply put - Don't drink and drive!

Every year in Canada more than 1,100 people die in alcohol-related collisions - that's about one-third of the total number of fatalities. Thousands more are injured, many of them permanently disabled. In fact, nearly 40 per cent of seriously injured drivers consumed alcohol prior to their collisions. (noted from Transport Canada) It's easy to think road safety if you want to have a few drinks.

In BC impaired driving laws apply if you're driving a car, boat, plane, or other motor vehicle or vessel.

This can apply even if you weren't driving and didn't move the vehicle - as long as you had care or control of it. Care or control of a vehicle means you were in the driver's seat and had access to the ignition key, even if you were parked. If you are hosting a party or a function where alcohol is served, remember that you may be legally liable for damage caused by guests - even after they have left the premises.

Rent a limousine, take a taxi, walk, or stay overnight where you are drinking. When you visit the beautiful Okanagan Canada, we want you to be able to come back!

Wishing you safe travel and fun exploring the beautiful Okanagan BC roads!

More Information To Read...

Okanagan BC Weather Forecast
Driving Canada to BC and the Okanagan
Driving USA to the Okanagan
Crossing The USA BC Border
Winter Weather Driving

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