This is personally one of my biggest fears.

This is not a problem we Michiganders on the west side of the state have to worry about but any time I'm in the Detroit area, or anywhere near the Michigan-Canada border for that fact, I'm absolutely terrified I'm going to take the wrong exit and wind up on the wrong country!

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I'm sure it's something U.S. and Canadian border agents are used to dealing with, but what are the consequences, if any, of taking the wrong exit and accidentally crossing into Canada?

The Ambassador Bridge

I've visited the "Great White North" a handful of times and I've always crossed the border from Detroit to Windsor, Canada via the Ambassador Bridge.

For those who have driven I-75 in Detroit, you must be familiar with the very daunting, very serious sign that hangs above exit 47B and reads:

Bridge to Canada. No Re-Entry to U.S.A.

Talk about anxiety-inducing!

I like to think I have a good sense of direction, but accidents happen and people get turned around. If I don't have my passport, am I going to get stuck in Canada and accidentally start an international incident all because I took the wrong exit?

Canadian Trucker Blockade At The Ambassador Bridge On U.S. Canadian Border Creates Gridlock
Getty Images

You Took the Wrong Exit, Now What?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection say that lost or confused motorists do find their way into Canada from time to time. However, there are no serious consequences for mistakenly crossing the border.

Though it may cost you some time and some hassle, drivers are typically free to resume travel once they're pointed in the right direction.

In a statement to the Detroit Free Press Custom and Border Protection Public Affairs Chief Kristoffer Grogan says,

Once it is clear that outbound travel was not intended, and the vehicle is determined to be clear of contraband, motorists are escorted from the area and free to resume travel to their intended destination

Phew! That's definitely reassuring. Thankfully I have an Enhanced Driver's License that can be used in place of a U.S. passport to re-enter the United States from places like Canada or Mexico.

Have you or someone you know ever made the wrong turn and wound up in Canada?

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