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Rules of the Road

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Whether you're a new driver or you've been driving for decades, it's always good practice to review the rules of the road. For your convenience, we've included some important ones here:

  • No person may drive a motor vehicle on a highway without a currently validated permit for the vehicle and number plates that are displayed on the vehicle.
  • The owner or lessee of a vehicle has six days to notify the MTO of a change of name or address.
  • Validation of a permit will be refused if there are any outstanding fees or taxes, parking fines or photo-radar red light camera fines related to the vehicle.
  • When the owner or lessee of a vehicle transfers ownership, or ceases to lease the vehicle, the owner or lessee must remove the number plates from the vehicle and complete and sign the transfer application on the permit. The permit must be delivered to the new owner or lessee with the vehicle.
  • Every new owner of a motor vehicle or trailer must apply for a new permit within six days.
  • The owner of a vehicle must obtain a SSC issued within the preceding 36 days before the vehicle can be registered, unless the vehicle is new and has never been registered.
  • The license plates for a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle, must be attached to and exposed in a conspicuous position on the front and rear of the motor vehicle.
  • The license plates for a motorcycle, motor-assisted bicycle, or trailer must be attached and exposed in a conspicuous position at the rear of the vehicle.
  • A current validation sticker must be affixed to the upper right-hand corner of the rear plate.
  • Renewal applications are mailed to the owner approximately 60 days prior to the expiration date of the validation sticker. The expiration date is usually the owner's birthday.
  • The number plates must not be obstructed by any device that prevents the entire plate from being accurately photographed by a photo-radar or red light camera system or from being identified by an electronic toll system.
  • Personalized plates and over 40 different graphic plates are available.
  • The Ministry of Transportation issues disabled person parking permits. The application must be completed and signed by medical practitioner.
  • An applicant for an Ontario driver's license must take vision, knowledge and driving skills examinations, unless otherwise exempted.
  • A person with a valid driver's license from the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Germany, Switzerland or Canada forces Europe may get full class G license privileges, if they have at least 24 months driving experience. The applicant is not required to take the knowledge and driving skills examinations, but must pass a vision test.
  • At 16, teens are eligible for the G1 license. The two-step licensing program takes 20 months to complete.
  • Containers of liquor are prohibited in a motor vehicle, whether it is in motion or not, except under the authority of a license or permit, unless the container is unopened and the seal unbroken. Other exceptions include if the liquor is packed in baggage that is fastened closed, or is not otherwise readily available to any person in the vehicle.
  • A person may not operate a motor vehicle or have the care or control of a motor vehicle, whether it is in motion or not, while the person's ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or if the person's BAC exceeds .08%.
  • Every person who drives on a highway in a motor vehicle, for which a seat belt assembly is provided for the driver, must wear the complete seat belt, assembly in a properly adjusted and securely fastened manner.
  • When the driver of a vehicle is approaching a railway crossing at a time when a clearly visible electrical or mechanical signal device, or flagman, is giving warning of the approach of a railway must not proceed until he or she can do so safely.
  • Every driver, when meeting on a highway, other than a highway with a median strip, a stopped school bus that has its overhead red signal lights flashing, must stop before reaching the bus and must not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal lights have stopped flashing.
  • The speed limit is 80 km/h on controlled access highways and highways outside a city, town, village or developed area.
  • The speed limit is 40 km/h in designated school zones.
  • No vehicle may be driven on a highway at such a slow rate of speed as to impede or block the normal or reasonable movement of traffic thereon, except when the slow rate of speed is necessary for safe operation under the circumstance.
  • Modification of original vehicle bumper height is permitted. This may be restricted by local ordinance.
  • The windshield and windows may not be coated with any colour spray or colour coating that obstructs the driver's view of the highway, or any intersecting highway.
  • When approaching any emergency vehicle that is stopped with its red, or red and blue, lights flashing or a tow truck with its amber lights flashing in the same direction of your travel, you are required to reduce the speed of your vehicle and proceed with caution. When the roadway has two or more lanes of traffic in the same direction of your travel, you are required to move into a lane away from the emergency vehicle or tow truck, if safe to do so, in addition to reducing the speed of your vehicle and proceeding with caution.
  • Drivers (including cyclists) must stop and yield the whole roadway at: pedestrian crossovers and at school crossings where there is a crossing guard displaying a school crossing stop sign.