Following Montreal's first significant snowfall of the season, Quebec police are gearing up for a major operation to stop reckless driving. Between November 10 and 16, police officers across the province will be on high alert for unsafe road maneuvers. The move comes in response to recent statistics showing a rise in accidents due to bad behavior behind the wheel.
Quebec police are taking an especially strong stance against common but dangerous driving infractions like failing to yield, running red lights, ignoring stop signs, and tailgating. They've been identified as leading contributors to road accidents, and with worsening road conditions during the winter, risk is heightened.
The campaign is not limited to traditional policing. An awareness initiative is also launching across social media platforms in collaboration with the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). Between 2020 and 2022, reckless driving played a role in half of the collisions that resulted in serious injury. It also marked an uptick from previous years, which police say signalled a need for intervention.
The week-long operation comes with winter tire season underway. More snowfall is expected to blanket Montreal in the coming weeks and could lead to treacherous driving conditions.
Authorities are urging drivers to take the opportunity to refresh their knowledge of the Highway Safety Code. As provincial police adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward reckless driving, motorists are reminded that safety doesn't end with the switch to winter tires — it begins with each decision made on the road.
What is the left turn rule in Quebec?
A red light next to a left turn road sign.
The Quebec Highway Safety Code dictates that the left lane is specifically designated for overtaking slower vehicles or for preparing to make a left turn. Unlike some other regions, like British Columbia, where the law is more lenient about remaining in the left lane, Quebec mandates that drivers should not use the left lane for general travel if they are not actively passing or preparing to turn left.
When making a left turn at an intersection in Quebec, drivers must turn in front of oncoming vehicles that are also making a left turn. This rule contrasts with the practice in many European, Asian, and African countries, where drivers turn behind the oncoming vehicles turning left.
What is the passing lane in Quebec?
Traffic on Highway 15 in Montreal.
In Quebec, the passing lane refers to the leftmost lane on multi-lane roads, primarily used for overtaking slower-moving vehicles. Drivers should only use the passing lane when it's safe and legal, according to the roadway markings. You're allowed to pass when there's a single broken line or a double line with a broken line on your side. When passing, signal your intention, move into the left lane, overtake the vehicle swiftly, and then safely return to your original lane.
Passing on the right is generally not permitted, with exceptions for vehicles turning left, vehicles exiting left on a highway, or in a one-way multi-lane traffic scenario. For cyclists or pedestrians, a safe distance of 1 meter in areas with speed limits of 50 km/h or less, and 1.5 meters in areas with higher speed limits, must be maintained unless they are separated from the roadway.
During special events with escorted groups, passing is only allowed if you either move to another lane on a multi-lane road or are given permission by an officer on a single-lane road. There are specific cases where crossing solid lines to pass is acceptable, like overtaking farm machinery, slow-moving vehicles with an orange triangle sign, animal-drawn vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians. You can check this roadway markings guide for visuals that show when and where passing is permissible.
How much can you go over the speed limit in Quebec?
A police car with arrows on the roof has pulled over a car in the winter.
Going over the speed limit in Quebec is considered a traffic violation, and there is no grace margin officially allowed. Speeding is defined as driving at a speed above the posted speed limit and can result in fines, demerit points, and potentially an increase in the cost of your driver's license.
Fines are doubled in road work zones or school zones during the school year to enhance the safety of workers, schoolchildren, and other road users. Drivers must adhere to the posted speed limits and exercise caution.
Excessive speeding in Quebec is categorized as driving at a speed that exceeds the speed limit by:
- 40 km/h or more in a zone where the speed limit is 60 km/h or less
- 50 km/h or more in a zone where the speed limit is over 60 km/h and up to 90 km/h
- 60 km/h or more in a zone where the speed limit is 100 km/h or over
For excessive speeding, the consequences upon being pulled over include immediate suspension of your driver's license for 7, 30, or 60 days and potential vehicle seizure for 30 days if it is a repeat offense. Upon being found guilty, the number of demerit points is doubled, and the amount of the fine can be doubled or tripled, depending on the driver's record of excessive speeding offenses in the previous 10 years.
Therefore, it is always recommended to drive within the speed limits to ensure safety and avoid legal penalties.
Can I turn right on red in Quebec?
A turning signal lever.
You are generally allowed to turn right on a red light in Quebec after coming to a complete stop and yielding the right of way to pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles using the intersection. However, the practice is not permitted on the island of Montreal or at any intersection where a sign specifically prohibits it.
Some intersections may have signs that indicate the prohibition of a right turn on red at certain times, so it’s important to check for any such signs below the traffic light. If no signs are present and you're outside of Montreal, you can turn right on red, but only after stopping completely and ensuring that the way is clear and safe to proceed.