When you become a licensed driver in Canada, you’re suddenly beholden to a broad array of driving and traffic regulations (including Canada’s weirdest driving laws) in order to keep everyone safe on the road.
Some of these laws are downright bizarre. Even if you’re an excellent, attentive, law-abiding driver you might not even realize some of these exist. If you do, you might not believe they’re legit.
As hard as it is to believe, they are. (Not to click bait you, but #9 on our list is straight up insane.)
Since our Constitution mandates the separation of federal and provincial powers, individual provinces have the authority over their own traffic regulations. Thus, we have a grand total of thirteen different sets of driving laws to keep us on our toes.
The result: lots of weird s#!+.
We hereby present the weirdest of the weird. Welcome to Canada’s weirdest driving laws.
Sleighs Must Have at Least Two Bells
According to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, your dash through the snow on a one-horse open sleigh is illegal unless your sleigh comes equipped with not one, but two bells.
The penalty for failing to abide to this law is a whopping $5 fine.
There’s no specification as to what sort of bell is required, but according to CBC’s This is That, it’s also illegal to not laugh all the way.
Solid Lines in Ontario are More Like Suggestions
Our next odd law keeps us in the Heartland Province. While double solid lines are treated as impenetrable barriers for the rest of Canada, in Ontario, they’re more of a recommendation.
In practice, crossing the double solid line to pass is still inadvisable, and in Ontario, you can still be issued a ticket if you pass when it isn’t safe to do so. But in Ontario, the official position is that “lane markings generally serve an advisory or warning function and by themselves do not possess any legal force,” according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Honk Before Passing in Prince Edward Island
In P.E.I., drivers are technically supposed to honk before passing other vehicles. But don’t worry, most people don’t bother with it, and chances are you won’t be given a citation if you don’t abide.
So Canadian, right? We get off with a smile and a “sorry”, basically.
Driving instructor Stewart Brookins told The Globe and Mail that it’s “virtually unenforced and the majority of people don’t do it. […] But, it’s basically a good enough idea to make your presence known.”
Let’s be glad this law isn’t common practice outside Prince Edward Island. Just imagine the headaches we’d all have after a long stint in rush hour traffic with a concert of horns blaring.
You Can’t Drive on Private Property to Dodge Red Lights
Well, in Quebec at least.
What this law attempts to stop is people pulling into parking lots at gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants, etc. in an effort to get around red lights.
Even without the law, this shouldn’t be an actual thing. It’s like brushing your teeth in the shower: it saves you almost no time and you look ridiculous doing it.
Quebec isn’t buying it. You can get slapped with a $100 fine if you attempt to drive through private property to avoid complying with the rules of the road.
Taxi Drivers Can’t Wear T-shirts on Duty
For taxi drivers in Halifax, the fashion police are a real thing. It’s stipulated in the Halifax Regional Municipality’s list of bylaws for taxis and limousines that drivers must wear shoes and socks, keep their clothing in clean conditions at all times, and refrain from wearing a t-shirt.
Don’t Hold on to a Moving Vehicle on the Highway
Some laws are just common sense and shouldn’t have to be put in writing. But given the whole Tide pod fiasco, we can’t say we don’t understand.
Some people are just dumb, and you need to protect them from themselves.
Section 240(1) of Saskatchewan’s Traffic Safety Act states that “No person on a highway shall directly or by any attachment hold onto a moving vehicle other than the one in which the person is riding.”
I like to call this the Back to the Future rule.
You Can’t Coast Downhill in Neutral
This unusual stipulation in B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act restricts drivers going down grade from coasting with the gears of the vehicle in neutral or having the clutch disengaged.
However, the claim that you would save gas by switching into neutral when heading downhill is disputed, so this law may not be that odd.
Driving Barefoot is Completely Legal
The old myth that we must use footwear while driving is actually a myth.
(Editor’s Note: My relatives in Nova Scotia are going to be very happy to read this.)
In reality, there exists no law that dictates that you can’t be barefoot. Behind the wheel, the world is yours when it comes to footwear, or lack of it. Barefoot, flip-flops, those weird-looking toe shoes, you name it.
Be that as it may, we strongly recommend that you wear reliable footwear when driving. You can still be charged with careless driving if your footwear choice causes you to drive erratically.
Besides, going barefoot is not conducive to making friends. For that reason, do your passengers a favour and lace-up.
You Can’t “Furiously” Race Animals on the Highway
It’s pretty hard to write about Canada’s weirdest driving laws without talking about Ontario a lot. But this one definitely takes the cake.
Section 173 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act strictly asserts that “no person shall race or drive furiously any horse or other animal on a highway.”
Somewhere out there, the writers of The Fast and Furious franchise have just been inspired for the plot of their next movie.
Did We Miss Any?
Do you have any questions about our strange rules of the road? Did we miss any of Canada’s weirdest driving laws?
Leave them in the comment section below!