Transportation of dangerous substances in passenger and recreational vehicles

The transportation of propane bottles, gasoline cans, chlorine for the pool or oxygen for a medical emergency must be done in compliance with the Transportation of Dangerous Substances Regulation. This regulation applies to all road users and aims to ensure that the transportation of dangerous substances is carried out safely, minimizing the risks for the population, environment and goods.

Common dangerous substances

Dangerous substances are classified based on the type of risk they present, as well as on product properties. Common dangerous substances include:

  • Propane, butane, acetylene and other flammable gases;
  • Gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, methanol and other flammable liquids;
  • Air, nitrogen, helium and other non-flammable gases;
  • Oxygen and other oxidizing gases;
  • Car batteries, chlorine for the pool, fireworks, cleaning products, certain types of glues and remover.

There are more than 3,500 different dangerous substances. The complete list is available in the Dangerous goods regulation.

Transporting dangerous substances

To ensure your safety and the safety of others, you need to follow a few simple rules:

  • The container used must be approved and standardized according to its content. For instance, you cannot carry gasoline in a windshield washer gallon.
  • The container must always be immobilized, whether it is full or empty.
  • Each container of dangerous substances cannot exceed 30 kg. If more than 150 kg of dangerous substances are being transported in a passenger or recreational vehicle, refer to the Transportation of Dangerous Substances Guide to learn the requirements.
  • The capacity for bottles of flammable gas, such as propane, must not exceed 46 litres, which is equivalent to about the capacity of a 40-pound propane bottle. For the requirements regarding the transportation of a flammable gas bottle of more than 46 litres, refer to the Transportation of Dangerous Substances Guide.

Moreover, for propane:

  • Whether they are full or empty, the bottles must be tied down to ensure they remain completely immobile.
  • They must always be positioned vertically, in a ventilated space toward the exterior, such as:
    • In the trunk, left partially open
    • In the passenger compartment of the car, with a window partially opened.
  • If a trailer (caravan) or camping trailer is attached to the vehicle, placing the bottle to the front of the trailer is recommended.
  • Placed outside a motorized vehicle, the bottles must be installed in the back, extending the width of the bumper. They need to be protected with materials that have a resistance equivalent to that of the bumper.





Ventilated to the outside


A propane bottle must never:

  • Be placed on the roof or on a door;
  • Be mounted in front of a motorized vehicle's front axle;
  • Stick out from either side of the vehicle.

Litres or pounds?

Propane bottles sold in Québec are labelled in pounds, but the transportation standards are in litres. For your information, a propane bottle usually used for the BBQ has a 20-pound capacity, which corresponds to approximately 22 litres.

Litre-and pound-capacity of propane bottles

Bottle in poundsVolume in water in litresEmpty weight in kilogramsFull bottle weight in kilograms

Going through a tunnel or tunnel-bridge

Additional rules apply for the transportation of dangerous substances in a vehicle or a combination of vehicles in the following tunnels and tunnel-bridges:

  • Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine, Ville-Marie and Viger in Montréal;
  • Joseph-Samson in Québec City;
  • Melocheville in Beauharnois.

Dangerous substances allowed and prohibited in a tunnel

Substances transportedWhat is allowedWhat is prohibited
Acetylene, butane, propane or other flammable gases2 bottles with a capacity of 46 litres or less eachMore than 2 bottles, regardless of the capacity

1 bottle with a capacity of over 46 litres
Oxygen2 bottles with a capacity of 46 litres or less eachMore than 2 bottles, regardless of the capacity

1 bottle with a capacity of over 46 litres
Gasoline, diesel fuel, methanol, solvents or other flammable liquids1 container or a combination of containers with a maximum capacity of 30 litres1 container or a combination of containers with a maximum capacity exceeding 30 litres
  • It is recommended to close the valve of the propane bottle before entering a regulated tunnel.
  • Fuel (gasoline, diesel fuel, propane or methane) used to activate a vehicle and contained in one or more tanks designed for that purpose by the car manufacturer or compliant with the Regulation respecting safety standards for road vehicles are not concerned by the rules for driving through tunnels.

New signs near tunnels

Road signs have been set up near tunnels to remind drivers of the allowable quantities for the two most common dangerous substances—gasoline and propane. You can therefore change your route before it is too late.


The website of the Société des traversiers du Québec details the restrictions pertaining to certain products on ships.

Safety tips

Some precautions must be taken before and during the transportation of dangerous substances.

Before leaving

  • Check that the containers are tied down to be completely immobile.
  • Confirm that the quantity being transported is compliant with the standards and the appropriate container is being used.

During transportation

  • Adopt a safer driving style.
  • Adapt your driving to road conditions.
  • Respect speed limits.
  • Respect braking distances.
  • Abstain from smoking