US Road Trip: The Differences Between America And Canada

The US road trip is a fated experience which everyone should experience at some point in their life. For Canadians, the proximity and the ease of access vis-à-vis a visa means it’s probably the easiest place in the world to travel. All you need to do is take the car over the border and set off to your destination. Where do you want to go? New York or LA or Chicago? It’s not a problem because they’re all within driving distance.


One thing which isn’t straightforward is driving. The US and Canada may seem alike, and they may have similar rules, but the little things can have a huge impact. Here’s what to watch out for when you’re behind the wheel.


Miles To KM


Speed limits in Canada are in kilometers whereas they are in miles in America. When you’re used to a certain way of doing things, this can impact the way you drive. Sure, there should be a miles section on the speedometer, so you need to keep an eye on the gauge. However, familiarity can set in and cause you to focus on the KM part instead, which will result in a speeding penalty. Concentrate and remember that Americans still use the old imperial system.


French To English

This isn’t a problem because English is your first language. However, some Canadians may read this and shake their heads. People from Quebec speak French and their street signs are mainly in the region’s tongue. Some are in English, but it’s only the important ones and it doesn’t happen very often. So, brushing up on a few words may be necessary depending on your linguistic skills. And not only English because Spanish is a major language in the south. Understanding the basics of Espanol may make the trip a lot easier if you’re in Texas, South Cali or New Mexico.

The Laws

Most laws are the same around the world, but certain places in the US have a few specifics which you must follow. For example, turning right on a red is allowed across most states in North America, except for New York. Do it in NYC and you may cause a pile-up and suffer an injury. Georgia also has precise pedestrian accident regulations such as sounding the horn to avoid a collision. Getting to grips with these laws should help you prevent any nasty incidents and keep you out of trouble. The best thing to do is to research the rules for the states you plan to visit.



Canadians are pretty aggressive drivers. Even in small towns and villages, there is a lot of tailgating and swerving across lanes. You may partake in this form of driving, but it won’t serve you well in America. Typically, motorists give each other plenty of room and indicate before switching lanes. Maybe NYC is a little different, but this is a rule of thumb for the most part. Try to curb your enthusiasm to avoid warranting police attention.


Wouldn’t that ruin the whole trip?

Felicia MarieComment