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Canada - Getting There By Road

There are several border crossings for cars entering from the United States into Canada. It is essential to make plenty of time for crossing the border as there can sometimes be long delays mainly due to the number of people who want to cross the border. Driving between the two countries is not the easiest option as the journeys can often be long, but it can be one of the most scenic options.

If your car is foreign (not a Canadian registration) then you will need to obtain a Canadian Non Resident Insurance Certificate. This insurance certification is over and above your standard car insurance which you will also need to bring with you when you want to cross the border. This is because the Canadian insurance system has set minimum values. Most provinces require you to be insured up to an amount of $200,000 with the exception of Quebec which is $50,000 and Nova Scotia which is $500,000, whereas many US states have minimums far below these levels and some states have none at all. This additional certificate will ensure you are fully covered up to the standards expected in Canada. You must make the arrangements with your insurance company to issue this certificate in advance as some will not cover for car use in Canada at all, and some will only issue cover for limited periods. You may be asked to present this documentation at the border crossing.

One issue you should be aware of is that speed limits signs will change from miles per hour in the US to kilometres per hour in Canada. This can be a problem for those driving a US vehicle as the speedometer on the car will be mph. Dividing the speed limit in km/h by 1.6 should give you the equivalent speed in miles per hour. Being tempted to drive too fast or forgetting about the differences could lead to problems with the police in Canada who are very strict about speed limits and will not hesitate to issue a ticket.

Drivers who are aged 17 and under and not accompanied by an adult aged 18 or over will not be allowed to cross the border. Anyone trying to cross the border must have a passport or acceptable form of identification with them. This should be carried at all times and should be easily accessible as you may be asked to present it for inspection by the authorities. If you are not a permanent resident of the US or Canada then you must also have your visa (if applicable). This will be needed by border control. Driver’s licenses or birth certificates are no longer acceptable as forms of identification for crossing into Canada from the US.

Each Canadian province has several border points of entry. Many of these are operational 24 hours a day but there are also many which are not. Prior to travel it is wise to check with the border services responsible for your planned point of entry to ensure that they will be open at the time you are expecting to cross. Some border crossings are only operational during the summer season and some are only open for a few hours each day. There are also some border crossing points that are only open one way. This means you can enter into Canada at one point, but you cannot return back to the US through the same border crossing.

Driving from Seattle to Canada takes around 3 hours and is a distance of around 150 miles. If you wanted to drive from Seattle to Calgary you are covering an actual distance of around 675 miles as it is not a straight trip due to the terrain. This can take around 12 hours driving. A popular driving route between the US and Canada is New York to Montreal. This is because the interstate 87 is an almost direct route between the two cities. This is a trip of approximately 400 miles depending upon the route you take and should take around 8 hours. The trip between Boston and Montreal measures just over 300 miles and takes approximately 5 hours to drive. It should be noted that these driving times do not include possible waiting times at the border crossings.

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