BC and Alberta Driving Rules – A Simple Comparison

BC and Alberta Driving Rules

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Check out some of the differences between BC and Alberta driving rules before you go

Non-Alberta license for tourists and visitors

A person visiting Alberta who is authorized to drive a motor vehicle of a particular class or type under a valid licence or permit issued outside Alberta is not required to hold a current and valid operator’s licence if the person drives the same type or class of motor vehicle while visiting in Alberta.

You can drive in Alberta with your BC license; just follow all of your restrictions

BC and Alberta Driving Rules – Turning Right on Red Light

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Red light right turn BC and Alberta driving rules
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BC and Alberta have the same rules regarding the right turn on the red light thing.

As usual, these turns are optional, and permitted, if/when safe, after stopping and yielding. Of course, in Alberta, you will be seeing the very intriguing ‘sideways’ traffic light.

Do not be alarmed if you see a double red sideways traffic light. This has the exact same meaning as the single red sideways traffic light. 

BC and Alberta Driving Rules – Turning Left on  Red Light

In beautiful British Columba, these left turns on red lights are permitted after stopping and yielding,  if and when safe, from a:

  • Two-way street onto a one-way street  
  • One-way street onto a one-way street

In Wild Rose Country, the only left turn on the red light permitted is:

  • Onto a one-way street from a one-way street

…if and when safe, after stopping and yielding

BC and Alberta Driving Rules – Flashing Green Light

Flashing green light
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As we know in BC, this is a “Pedestrian-controlled traffic light;”

Other than being controlled by pedestrians – and of course drivers who get out of the car to press the button  — the same rules apply as they do for solid green vertical traffic lights.

Generally speaking, left turns must yield to oncoming traffic, right turns must yield to pedestrians

In beautiful Alberta, Drivers facing a flashing green traffic control light are:

Opposing traffic will be facing a red light.


BC and Alberta Driving Rules – School Zones

school zone
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British Columbia School Zone hours are on school days, Between 8 am and 5 pm, Unless otherwise posted

Alberta School Zone times – school days only -are :

• 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

• 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

• 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

*Unless otherwise posted

 Playground Zones

Playground zone
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In BC, Playground restrictions are in effect every day of the year from dawn until dusk.  

In Alberta, playground restrictions are in effect every day of the year from 8:30 a.m. to one hour after sunset.

Solid Yellow Lines

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In BC, Passing is not permitted over solid double lines; but is permitted over a single solid line at the drivers’ discretion

In Alberta, Solid yellow lines, single or double, indicate that passing is not permitted.

 Uncontrolled Intersections

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In BC, If another vehicle has arrived at the intersection before you, slow down and yield. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right.

In Alberta, At these intersections, you must yield the right-of-way to a vehicle on your right.

A flashing green light inside a vehicle means there is a volunteer firefighter on the way to an emergency: Flashing Green Light inside a Vehicle

Distracted Driving Laws are In Full Effect

Distracted Driving Law in Effect

Effective January 1, 2016 the penalty for distracted driving in Alberta is a $287 fine and three demerit points.

The law applies to all motor vehicles as defined by the Traffic Safety Act. It restricts drivers from:

  • Using hand-held cell phones
  • Texting or e-mailing (even when stopped at red lights)
  • Using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays, and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
  • Entering information on GPS units
  • Reading printed materials in the vehicle
  • Writing, printing, or sketching
  • Personal grooming (brushing and flossing teeth, putting on makeup, curling hair, clipping nails, or shaving)

The law applies to all roads in Alberta


Tinted Windows in BC & Alberta

There’s no tinted love in five provinces: In British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, it’s illegal to have any tint at all on driver and passenger side windows.

“The front side windows on a vehicle are designed to shatter into small pieces the size of a fingernail upon impact,” says Alberta Transportation spokesman Bob McManus. “If you apply film over top of that glass it will not shatter correctly and will laminate into large sharp projectiles that can injure someone in the event of a collision.”

Globe & Mail




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Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

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