Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island - Canada
Driving and Registering a Car
Some employers might require that you have your PEI Driver's Licence for certain jobs. It is a good idea to get a PEI Driver's Licence, even if you do not plan to own a vehicle.
Also, a Driver's Licence is a common document used for identification purposes, for things like picking up a parcel at the Post Office or withdrawing money from the bank.
Most people in PEI travel by car. Here is some information for you if you are a driver yourself.
You can use your valid foreign driver's licence in PEI for 120 days.
Island authorities will exchange some valid foreign drivers' licences without a driving test. Contact your local Access PEI office to find out if drivers' licences from your country of origin can be exchanged without taking a driving test.
For detailed information on how to obtain a PEI Driver's Licence, please refer to Important Canadian Documents: PEI Driver's Licence page in this Guide. [See Related Resources]
Owning a Vehicle
- Every vehicle has to be insured with an insurance company.
- Vehicles have to be registered every year on or before the owner's birthday.
- Your vehicle needs to be inspected annually. Most motor vehicle repair shops are licensed to do this inspection.
If you own a vehicle, you must register it at your local Access PEI office. To register your vehicle you must:
- Be a resident of PEI
- Have the bill of sale (document stating the price, make and model of the car, the serial number of the car, and the seller's information)
- Show proof that you purchased vehicle insurance
- Show proof of current motor vehicle inspection report
If you bring a vehicle from off Island, you must register it with PEI authorities within a limited period of time. Contact your local Access PEI office for detailed information about this. [See Related Resources]
Roads and Road Conditions
The first 'roundabout' (intersection with circular flow of traffic) in PEI was built in 2006 at Travellers Rest near Summerside. Many were concerned about this new road feature, thinking it would be 'too complicated for Island drivers'. The next one was constructed in Charlottetown four years later, still with some resistance and concerns from the sceptics, but more are being built as we are writing this Guide. To help Island drivers handle the road novelty, PEI government published a website page with helpful animations describing rules of driving in a roundabout. [See Related Resources]
The road infrastructure in PEI has been undergoing lots of improvements lately. Bypasses, more efficient intersection solutions, better signaling and other improvements have been implemented, and continue to be added to the road system across the Province in the first decade of the century, and are planned for the future. The road system consists of two major highways and a network of smaller highways and roads. Some secondary country roads are not paved. The highest allowed speed on PEI roads is 90 kilometers per hour, on some highways.
Driving conditions change with seasons on PEI roads. In winter, during heavy snowfall, roads may be blocked at times. In summer there is lots of construction on the roads, and traffic may be slowed down or completely blocked at construction zones. It is a good idea to stay informed about the road conditions before going on a longer drive. [See Related Resources]
Encountering Emergency Vehicles on the Road
If you are driving and see or hear an emergency vehicle (police vehicle, ambulance, or fire truck) driving with flashing lights and/or sirens, slow down carefully, pull over to the right shoulder of the road and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed.
If you see an emergency vehicle parked at the side of the road with emergency lights on, slow down to half the posted speed limit and safely move to left passing lane (if there is one) or safely pass the vehicle being mindful of oncoming traffic.
If a police vehicle turns on their lights and/or sirens behind your vehicle, signal and pull over safely to the shoulder of the road and stop. Wait in your vehicle while the police officer approaches to speak with you. Do not get out of your vehicle unless asked to do so. Follow the officer's instructions.