Please get informed on the driving code in North America before you hit the road anywhere in Canada. I'm not affraid for us but mostly for you...
For example we do not stop right under the traffic lights but right before the white street line, which is way before the intersection!
The one-way sign is a white arrow on a black board, although not very evident, please be on the lookout.
Also... we do not have it as a habit (although we should) to stop at pedestrian yellow crossings lines... if you do so where there is no red traffic light, you might just end up getting smashed into from the rear.
One last thing... when you see that cars are all parked in the same direction, that might be because it is the way to park, even if you got the parking spot at the last minute or couldn't miss the opportunity... you'll get a parking ticket for parking "tête-bèche".
If you are visiting the province of Quebec and come from such a place where highways are as smooth as let's say France, beware of potholes! North America undergoes great temperature changes throughout the year, often from 30 degrees in the summer to -35 degrees in the winter, which stresses a lot of the roads' asphalt, resulting in numerous potholes, sometimes very deep and dangerous. They are very bad on a vehicule's suspension as on it's rims, but that's nothing compare to the tough driving and headaches they'll give you. Hey! don't complain... just think of us tax payers who have to drive in winter under these conditions! ...Only one good thing, which actually might be a paradoxal advantage: ALL of our highway are tollfree.
Driving can get crazy at times, and since it's a big city, expect to get stuck in traffic if you're driving. Also, speeding is common and if you're a pedestrian, never expect a car to stop for you even if you're already in the middle of the road.
As your driving in Montreal during the winter months be very careful for obvious icy and snowy reasons. One thing that many people forget is that salt is everywhere! Windshields are crusted with salt and a few Montrealers think saving windshield wiper fluid is a good idea in case the country experiences a shortage.
Take it from a local, we dont turn right on red for a reason! Montrealers will and always will jaywalk. If there's an opening, we'll go! We're professionals, we know if your crossing as a mass the drivers will stop. Montreal drivers are also impatient and reckless. Our large immigrant population has led to a wide range of driving techniques and you'll never know what will happen. The police tried to rectify the jaywalking and the driver's ignoring cross walks. Didn't work.
Please be wary of the taxi drivers, those jerks will rip you off any way they can! Several suked, tryingt o hike up the fare, but one ruined my night so bad! My bf and I wanted to go clubbing, so we asked the driver where it was very hot to go. He highly recommended this one club, and drove us like 15 minutes to it. We were very nervous since it pretty far from the main party spot in Montreal( St. Catherine's). We paid like $20 and the club was HORRIBLE! The music sucked and the crowd suked.
My husband says main routes in Montreal are all narrow and surrounded by concrete walls... the most unconfortable road he has ever driven. I felt that too. I didn't particularly enjoy being in the car in Montreal. (After that, on the way to Sherbrooke, Route 55 was fantastic, though).
If you visit Montreal, you will undoubtedly notice people jaywalking. However, you should never do this, you risk getting a fine, and more importantly, Montreal drivers don't stop or even slow down for pedestrians. We are very nice people on the whole, just not behind the wheel!
Also, on Montreal island you can NEVER make a right turn on a red light, however, outside the island you generally can, unless you see a sign stating otherwise. The bridges are the busiest in Canada, if you must take them during the day, 1-3 pm is the best time.
Finally, if you are coming from the West (I-87 or 89), DON'T DRIVE IN THE FAR LEFT LANE near Pont Champlain. You'll get hit by an oncoming bus! There are signs, but they're vague.
Make sure you check the street signs too (don't just go by the parking meter). I got dinged $42 for parking in a zone where you can't park between 7-8 a.m. (though the meter said its hours of operation is 9-9 p.m).
I got the stall in the wee hours of the morning and the trees were hiding the parking signs so hence, ticket on the windshield when I woke up before 9 a.m. to put some coinage to the meter.
They tend to jump out and jaywalk a busy street...a lot! If you are driving around Montreal, make sure that you stay alert. For sure, no talking on the phone, no sightseeing, no eating, no changing the radio. HAHAHHAHAHAHA Well, maybe it sounds extreme but this is just a precaution cuz I think once you get used to the driving here, you can multitask anything. HAHAHAHA
When in Montreal the biggest thing you have to get used to is the traffic. Montreal drivers are like none other- street lights are there merely for decoration... and to make tourists think there is actually a safe time to cross the street :) After a few days of being honked at and nearly run over by impatient and angry drivers, I discovered that when in Rome... cross the street like the locals do! Regardless of the lights, if there is no traffic then GO!
Montreal and New York are the only cities in North America than you cant turn right in the red light.
In large suburb like Longueuil and Laval, you can only if 50% of the intersection. Watch for the sign.
Be careful because the police tickets are expensive (something like 150$ for this infraction)
This is more a danger to your sanity than to anything else: Champlain Bridge!
THE BUSIEST BRIDGE IN CANADA!
Rush hour here is terrible..from 6am to 9am and 3:30pm to 6:30pm. Friday's it's even longer.
I live across the bridge and got used to it. (I work afternoon shifts anyways..) BUT if your a tourist, even thought it may be cheaper to get a hotel outside, just get a hotel ON THE ISLAND!
Although the road signs are generally the same as those in other provinces, there are a few driving tips to be aware of:
turning right at a red light is prohibited in Montreal for the time being, although there are pilot tests elsewhere in the province to see if allowing this will result in more accidents.
Owing, in part, to the more severe winters, the roads tends to have a few more potholes or patched areas than most American roadways. Keep an eye on the road surface to avoid bumps
Many street signs use the French terms for things you may be familiar with only in English. Don't be worried. 'Ouest' means 'West'. 'Est' means 'East'. 'Sud' means 'South' and 'Nord' means 'North'. 'Rue' means Street. For example, 'Rue Sherbrooke Ouest' means 'Sherbrooke Street West'
St. Lawrence Street (Rue St. Laurent) is the dividing line between the east side of the city and the west. All street numbers radiate eastward and westward from this street. The street itself is a lively, cosmopolitan, multiethnic artery which is filled with excellent eateries and cafés and shops.
Most streets in the downtown core are one-way. Parking on the street isn't easy, especially in winter.
When taking the aerobus to the airport during rush-hour, give yourself AMPLE time to arrive to the airport (like 1.5 hours). I was close (by something like 2 MINUTES) to missing my flight back to Edmonton b/c the bus was tied up in downtown rush hour traffic (in Montreal, rush hour lasts well past 6 pm).
Oh. The picture was taken of McGill campus. The tiny specks are of students studying on the quad. It was 20C-or so degrees outside.