Tips for Driving in Quebec City From Firsthand Experience
Tips to Make Your Driving in Quebec City Go Smoothly
It’s a good idea to have a car when traveling in Quebec. While there is reliable public transportation within Quebec City, there are so many places nearby that are worth checking out too. There are national parks and hiking trails, small towns, and more that are within driving distance.
It can be a little hectic, but if you have driven in any big city, you’ll be totally fine driving in Quebec City. But there are a few things to know before getting behind the wheel to make your adventure stress free.
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Driving in Quebec City
They drive on the right side, the correct side.
If you’re traveling to Canada from the US, good news! They drive on the same side of the road as us. So at least you won’t have to get used to driving on the other side of the car. Sorry, my left side driving friends, this will be a change for you! I mean, it is the "right" side (wink wink).
A flashing green light signals the right to turn left.
There are multiple ways to signal a left turn in Quebec City. There is your standard green arrow that shows you have the right of way, but there’s also the flashing green light. If you’re in the left turn lane, and your light starts flashing green, that means you have the right of way!
Free parking is rare in the city.
It is very hard to find free parking in Quebec City. Almost all street parking is metered, but it’s not terribly expensive. There are also parking garages and some surface parking lots scattered around the city. These vary in price, but not by much. I suggest parking further out of town for cheaper parking but keep in mind this might not always be the case.
It snows in winter. A lot.
If you have never driven in snow and you’re visiting Quebec City in winter, you might want to do some light research on driving in snow! Because it snows, well, a LOT in Quebec City in winter. If you’re driving your own car, make sure your tire treads are in good condition. And if you’re renting a car in Quebec, you will most likely receive a car already equipped with snow tires!
Speed limits are in kilometers per hour.
Yes, my American friends, they use kilometers, not miles, in Canada. The good news though is most, if not all, fairly modern cars have a kilometer speedometer right below or next to the miles. The speeds are generally similar to what they would be in the US; for example, through towns, it’s around 70 KPH or roughly 45 MPH, and on highways, it’s around 100 KPH or roughly 60 MPH.
Right turn on red is often prohibited.
Not always, but often, right turns are prohibited on red lights. This is probably because crosswalks in Quebec City all turn to walk at the same time, and all the traffic must stop. So for about 20 seconds, all pedestrians have the right of way, and all traffic must wait. So just wait for the light to turn green!
Gas is available in set money increments.
Based on personal experience, we found that you could only pay for gas in increments of $20. So you could choose to put, say, $20, $40, or $60 of gas into your car. This may not always be the case, but it’s the only way we saw it. They also base prices on liters of gas, not gallons, so having a rough understanding of how much gas you need will help.
If you’re a confident driver, you shouldn’t have any issues while driving in Quebec City. Just prepare for it to be busy. If you are comfortable walking fairly long distances, I highly recommend parking your car either in a lot or finding a paid street parking space. The four following locations are great for parking and walking around Old Town Quebec City!
Parking in Quebec City
This is a great choice if you need to leave your car for an entire day or even longer. You can pay per hour, or purchase a day or multi-day pass. It's not horribly expensive.
Perfect for parking and exploring for a couple of hours. There is paid street parking available in many places around Quebec City.
3. Free Parking
We found this hidden gem the last week we were in Quebec City. It's free, but be aware, there are no set spaces, and it fills up quickly during busy times.
This is a great option if you want covered parking. It's a multi-story parking garage and close to several tourist attractions, such as the Museum of Civilization, which is well worth a visit.
What else is on your Quebec itinerary? If you enjoy hiking and the weather permits, make sure you check out Montmorency Falls and Mont Sainte Anne! Between waterfalls and mountains, you’ll be in hiking heaven at these locations.
Have you ever driven outside of your home country? We want to hear about your experience below in the comments!