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Driving in Vancouver

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Vancouver.

1. Understanding Vancouver’s Driving Culture

Driving in Vancouver, is generally safe and straightforward. The city has well-maintained roads and clear traffic signs. However, Vancouver is known for its heavy traffic, especially during rush hours. Therefore, patience is key when driving in this city. Also, Vancouverites are generally polite drivers, so aggressive driving is not appreciated.

2. Car Recommendation

As for the type of car, it depends on your needs and lifestyle. If you live and work in the city, a compact car is recommended due to its fuel efficiency and ease of parking. However, if you plan to explore the outdoors or live in areas with heavy snowfall, an SUV or a car with 4-wheel drive would be more suitable.

3. Parking in Vancouver

Finding parking in downtown Vancouver can be challenging, especially during peak hours. Most parking in the city is metered, and the cost can add up quickly. However, there are also parking lots and garages available. It’s advisable to use a parking app to find and pay for parking conveniently.

4. Driving with an International License

Yes, a foreigner can drive using an international license in British Columbia, which Vancouver is part of, for up to six months. However, if you are planning to stay longer, you will need to get a British Columbia driver’s license.

5. Getting a Driver’s License in Vancouver

To get a driver’s license in Vancouver, you will need to visit an ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) driver licensing office. You will need to bring identification, proof of residence, and your current driver’s license. You may also need to pass a knowledge test and a road test. It’s advisable to study the British Columbia’s driving guide before taking the tests.

6. Be Aware of Cyclists

Vancouver is a bike-friendly city with many dedicated bike lanes. Always check for cyclists before turning or opening your car door when parked on the street.

7. Be Prepared for Rain

Vancouver is known for its rainy weather. Make sure your car’s windshield wipers are in good condition and that you’re comfortable driving in wet conditions.

8. Watch Out for Pedestrians

Like many cities, Vancouver has a lot of pedestrians. Always be vigilant, especially in crowded areas and near schools.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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