The Lay of the Land: Saskatchewan’s Rules of the Road
Saskatchewan. While the rest of Canada thinks itself pretty darn hilarious, recycling their worn-out old jokes about how “boring” our landscape is, or for how many days you’re able to see your dog run off in the distance, only Saskatchewanites know what makes this place really special. We’re the land of 100,000 lakes, the birthplace universal healthcare, and the proud home of the CFL’s best team and most psychotically devoted, watermelon-wearing fan-base. Already this sounds like a pretty great list of provincial credentials, but did you also know that Saskatchewan is home to 20 per-cent of Canada’s roads? That’s right! Over 250,000 km of range roads and highways crisscross our great province and you oughta’ get behind the wheel travel every inch of them! Before you peel out to explore this beautiful province however, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Saskatchewan’s rules of the road. Whether you’re a new driver or simply new to driving here, you’ll find useful information in this post that’ll set you up for an informed and worry-free journey.
Rules of the Road: Your Saskatchewan driver’s license
Of course, the prerequisite to any sort of driving is that you have or obtain a valid driver’s license for the vehicle you wish to operate. Similar to the rest of Canada, Saskatchewan drivers must pass a series of knowledge and skill-based tests in order to properly qualify for an operator’s license. You’ll be required to pass a driver exam if:
- you’ve never been a license holder
- you’ve not held a Saskatchewan driver’s license in the last 5 years
- you wish to change the class of your current license or obtain an endorsement
- you’re a new resident and your current license is from another province, state or country not honoured in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan’s driver exam is comprised of three different tests designed to asses your competency behind the wheel. You’ll be required to complete and pass a knowledge-based exam, a vision test, and an in-car road test before you’re able to driver legally on Saskatchewan roads. You’ll want to study up by reviewing Saskatchewan’s Driver’s Handbook. Getting your license can be a tedious process so you’ll want to nail it on the first go!
Rules of the Road: Distracted Driv…hold on, I just got a text.
Sorry ’bout that. Now, where was I? Dang. I got distracted and now I’ve lost my train of thought. It’s a good thing that this is blog-writing and not driving! In Saskatchewan, as in many other places across Canada, legislative strings have been drastically tightened to deter distracted driving practices. Drivers are three to six more times more likely to be involved in a collision when talking on a cellular device, and texting? Forget it! Taking your eyes off the road to gawk at your messages behind the wheel makes you an estimated 23 times more likely to have an accident on the road.
Since January 1st, 2016 it’s been illegal to even hold your cell-phone in your hand while you drive, in Saskatchewan. For new drivers and those with graduated licenses, you’re prohibited from using a Bluetooth or speaker-phone as well. Only experienced drivers are able to use hand-free devices behind the wheel. The penalties for getting caught distracted driving are severe. The fine for using, viewing or manipulating a cellphone while driving is $280 (which includes a victims’ surcharge of $60) and four demerit points, while repeat offences within a single year will land you a seven-day vehicle impoundment. The easiest way to avoid the wrong side of Saskatchewan’s distracted driving legislation is, of course, keeping your hands glued to the wheel and your eyes fixed on the road. Be smart!
Rules of the Road: Don’t test the limits
Yes, we get it. We’re a particularly horizontal province. That doesn’t mean to you can open it up on the highway unchecked, however. Just like elsewhere in Canada, Saskatchewan’s highways are governed by speed limits that should be obeyed. Exceeding the posted limit or driving inappropriately for road conditions can greatly increase the severity of a collision. Consider this: the chance of being killed in a collision at 80 km/h is two times higher than if you were travelling at 64 km/h. When a vehicle crashes at a speed above 80 km/h, the chance of death is more than 50 per-cent. Speeding decreases the amount of time both you and other drivers have to react in order to avoid an accident, contributing to far greater risk on the road.
In Saskatchewan, highway speed limits range from 90 – 110 km/h. On unpaved range roads, its important to drive mindfully as well, taking appropriate steps to accommodate for a wide range of potential conditions. It’s important to ensure that your vehicle undergoes proper and regular maintenance to ensure it’s safe performance through all seasons. The automotive professionals at Rally VW’s service department recognize the necessity in driving a road-ready vehicle. Don’t hesitate to contact the team with questions, concerns, or to book an appointment online.
And you’re off!
And now you’re all set. With these helpful tips and reminders about what makes driving in Saskatchewan unique, you’ll be able to handle pretty much anything you encounter on the roads, this year. See you out there!