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With more than half a million licensed drivers, Ottawa's roads are well-travelled. Some wind their way past iconic Canadian landmarks, including Parliament Hill, the stunning Rideau Canal, and historic Château Laurier. There are two major highway corridors in this city: the 417 (Queensway) and Ottawa-Carleton Regional Road 174.

Despite having the 4th largest population in the country, Ottawa boasts some of the safest roads in Canada. Even so, that doesn't mean you don't need to protect yourself when driving in our nation's capital. As always, defensive driving is vital and having the right auto insurance plan is just as important.

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Driving in Ottawa.

Most popular cars in Ottawa.

Our data show that Ottawa drivers love their Japanese cars. Honda takes the number one spot when it comes to most popular auto brands in the city, with Toyota coming in 2nd. American brands Ford and Chevrolet take 3rd and 4th place and South Korean automaker Hyundai rounds out 5th place.

Popular Brands

  1. Honda
  2. Toyota
  3. Ford
  4. Chevrolet
  5. Hyundai

Who shops for auto insurance in Ottawa?

According to our data, the majority (almost 73%) of auto insurance shoppers in our nation's capital are male.

Gender of our users

Male
72.8%
Female
27.2%

Average Age

31

years old

Tickets & Accidents

Have Tickets
11.69%
Have Had Accidents
9.99%

Your questions about driving in Ottawa, answered.

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Facts and myths about driving in Ottawa

Facts

  • Ottawa roads are among the safest in the country. Efforts from all government levels, and many non-governmental agencies, reduced traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Ottawa by 50% over the past 30 years — despite a huge increase of drivers in Ottawa.
  • If you think you've seen all of Ottawa, look down — there's an entire city beneath your feet. Ottawa is home to an extensive "underground city": tunnel networks through Carleton University, an underground passageway in the downtown business district, and a rapid transit line currently in construction.
  • The urban transit service of Ottawa, called OC Transpo, has its own bus rapid transit (BRT) system. This high-frequency bus service runs on the transitway and boasts a network of separate roadways for OC Transpo buses.

Myths

  • A larger population means more accidents in Ottawa. False. You'd think that in a city like Ottawa, accidents would be among the highest in the country, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, Ottawa has one of the lowest accident rates in the country.
  • Heavy winter snowfall means more accidents. False. Even though Ottawa gets about 224 centimetres (or 88 inches) of snowfall every year, drivers in the city know how to cope with the white stuff.
  • When driving in Ottawa, you can skip the winter tires and use all-seasons tires instead. False. All-season tires may seem convenient, but when you're driving in Canada, and especially in snowy Ottawa, there's no such thing as tires for "all seasons".

Ottawa driving tips

  1. Watch out for those snow banks. If there are snow banks on your lawn, you need to be careful when you're pulling out of the driveway. It's easy to get clipped by a passing vehicle if piled-up snow blocks your view.
  2. Watch out for deer or other wildlife on the road.​ There are 1,000 wildlife/vehicle collisions every year in Ottawa — that's more than in any other area in Ontario. Look for yellow wildlife warning signs or light reflections from animals' eyes. The best way to stay safe is to reduce your speed so you have time to react appropriately.
  3. Be careful when you stop at an intersection. Nearly half of Ottawa's traffic collisions occur at intersections. Obey stop signs and make sure to brake behind the painted bars — that means no rolling stops. Remember to also make eye contact with other intersection users. It's never a good idea to assume it's safe to proceed after stopping.

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