A quick guide to driving regulations in Manitoba

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General driving rules

  1. You must:
    • be at least 16 years old and
    • have a valid driver’s licence to drive in Manitoba.
  2. You can use your valid driver’s licence from your home country for three months. Get a Manitoba licence before the end of the three-month period.
  3. Take the written test and pass the road test to get an MB licence.
  4. Some don’t need to take these tests. Read: Special cases and Moving from a reciprocal country.
  5. Read the Driver’s Handbook to know the rules of the road.

Speed limits

  1. Read the speed limit signs on Manitoba roads.
    • Maximum speed on highways is usually 100 km/hour.
    • City speed limits are around 50 km/hr.
    • It can change. Always read the signs.
  2. There are school zone speed limits during the school year.
    • It is usually a 30 km/hr speed limit.
    • Read warning signs near school zones.
  3. Drive slowly near construction zones.
    • Read warning signs.
    • Slow down to keep workers safe.

Passenger and public safety

Number of passengers allowed in a vehicle
Check the number of seatbelts in a car to know the number of passengers allowed. Drivers will not be allowed to drive if:

  • passengers are not seated properly
  • more than one passenger occupies a single seating position
  • passengers share a seatbelt
  • there are more passengers in the vehicle than there are seats with seat belts

Seat belts and child car seats

  1. Drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts.
    • Drivers are fined $300 and given two demerits for not wearing a seatbelt. (Seatbelt penalties and fines, Manitoba Public Insurance).
    • Drivers are fined an additional $299.65 for each passenger under 18 years old not wearing a seatbelt (2019).

    Watch this video to see how a seatbelt protects your body in a collision:

    60 second driver- seatbelts MBPublicInsurance

  2. Babies and children must have child car seats.

Drinking and driving
Drinking and driving are not allowed. This is for all motor vehicles including boats, aircraft, special mobile machines, tractors and farm equipment.

  1. Drunk drivers can be charged penalties, suspensions and even criminal offence.
  2. Be careful about having alcoholic drinks in the car.
    • Do not store open liquor (anything with 1% alcohol or more) near the driver’s seat.
    • Store any opened or unopened liquor in the trunk of your car or the storage area farthest to the driver’s seat.

Distracted driving
Distracted driving is when you eat, drink or use your mobile phone while driving. Distracted driving accidents have increased because of texting while driving. “One in three deaths on Manitoba roads involves a distracted driver” (MPI).

Drivers caught texting while driving receive:

  • a three-day licence suspension for the first offence and a seven-day suspension they are caught doing it again, and
  • a $672 fine and five demerits (Focus on the road, MPI).

Other relevant acts:

  1. Insurance is required in Manitoba. Get it from the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and from Autopac.
  2. Stay alert when you hear emergency vehicle sirens. Slow down and stay cautious.
    • Move out of the lane the emergency vehicle is stopped in.
    • Move into a lane that is not next to the stopped vehicle in multi-lane highways.
    • Pass a stopped emergency vehicle with their lights activated only when safe to do so.
  3. Smoking in cars where there is a child under 16 years old is not allowed.
  4. Cyclists must follow road signs and traffic rules just like motorists. Read Bike safety for newcomers.

Sources: Driving in Manitoba, Manitoba Residents Portal; New to Manitoba, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI); Manitoba Infrastructure guide for establishing reduced-speed school zones, Manitoba.gov; Focus on the road, Manitoba Public Insurance; and Driver’s Handbook, MPI. Accessed September 5, 2019.

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