O Canada
June 18, 2011 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Advice for driving in Western Canada ...

... between Alaska and Washington.

Are there Canadian driving rules and customs one should know about?
How is the Cassiar highway vs the Alaska highway?
Are there speed traps (or the like) in western Canada these days? Or red light ticket cameras? (I've always had the impression, based on very limited experience, that Canadian traffic law enforcement, relative to other places, is fairly non-predatory.)

Previous notes: 1, 2
posted by coffeefilter to Travel & Transportation around Canada (13 answers total)
 
Best answer: BC has red light cameras, but not "photo radar".
I'm in Ontario, but from what I understand there aren't any real serious differences between driving in Alaska and BC. If you're on a twisty road with hills, be aware of logging trucks coming the other way in the centre of the road.

Be very aware of moose collisions at night, use your highbeams and drive carefully.
posted by geodave at 1:58 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: I drove from Vancouver to Osoyoos on Hwy 3 on May 20th, which admittedly was the start of the Victoria Day weekend. There were at least 4 speed traps along the way, seemed to be about every 20 miles once we got out of the Vancouver area.
posted by Long Way To Go at 2:11 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: In relation to note #1, a quick flash of the high-beams tells an oncoming car YOUR HIGH-BEAMS ARE ON AND I AM COMPLETELY BLIND; PLEASE TURN THEM OFF SO I DON'T DIE.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:23 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Best answer: Once you get into Northern BC, fill up your gas tank whenever possible, gas will get more expensive and more miles between stations the further north you go. Also, any (non-perishable) food items or other things you anticipate needing, purchase before leaving WA, or at very least, in the Vancouver area. Canadian prices are higher, and Alaskan prices higher yet. Again, the further north you go, the smaller the selection available and the higher the price.

Blinking (green) traffic lights mean they are Pedestrian crossings controlled by the Pedestrian buttons ... be cautious as you approach.

Remember that speed signs are in kph (80 kph = 50mph).

Do watch for wildlife, deer, (mountain)sheep, and moose in particular, esp at dusk and dawn. Deer whistles that attach to your car would be a good and cheap thing to have, they do work to a large extent in warning off wildlife.

Enjoy the trip! It's beautiful!
posted by batikrose at 3:00 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: ... am assuming that you have passports in hand for crossing border, be aware of what you can and can't cross with, which includes handguns ...just FYI
posted by batikrose at 3:07 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: I rode up the Cassiar back about 10 years ago and it was gorgeous. The road was great aside from the part being actively repaved. It's a lovely road and there's a bunch of neat totem poles near the south end of the Cassiar in the Gitanyow community. Here are some pics.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:12 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: While the Milepost magazine/book is mostly for Alaskan travel, it does have good information about travel in Western Canada, including the Cassiar highway and the Alaska highway. It gives a mile by mile guide for places to see, where to get gas and food, as well as even areas high in wildlife population where you might need to keep a closer eye out.
posted by vagabond at 3:54 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: Blinking (green) traffic lights mean they are Pedestrian crossings controlled by the Pedestrian buttons ... be cautious as you approach.

THIS!!! Only in BC (not Alberta). This means that if you want to turn left with a green light flashing, it DOES NOT mean that oncoming traffic has a red light from their side.
posted by kch at 4:30 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Best answer: In BC dont speed over 40km/h above the limit. They will impound your car for at least a week. Seems reasonable really.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 4:56 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: IN BC handheld electronics are banned for the driver, phone must be used with a handsfree bluetooth device or other handsfree solution. Many drivers ignore this.
posted by Keith Talent at 6:20 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: batikrose writes "Deer whistles that attach to your car would be a good and cheap thing to have, they do work to a large extent in warning off wildlife."

Deer whistles do nothing to ward off deer. Without speculating about whether the whistle frequencies would actually repel deer the whistles aren't loud enough in the frequencies that deer hear in to be heard over road noise.
posted by Mitheral at 7:41 PM on June 18, 2011


Best answer: The Milepost Magazine, 'nuff said.
posted by ruelle at 11:29 PM on August 4, 2011


Best answer: Afterword: And flashing green arrows ....
posted by coffeefilter at 6:16 PM on August 22, 2011


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