Planning on hitting the road with your family this summer? Road trips can be a fun, inexpensive, and convenient way to get around and allow you to make memories along the way.
Here are five tips to ensure you and your loved ones arrive safely.
Before leaving, ensure your vehicle is ready for a lot of driving. Make an appointment with a qualified mechanic a few weeks before your departure to ensure that your tires, battery, belts, brakes, fluids, and air conditioning are in good working order.
If you plan to drive in hot weather or have to pull a heavy load like a boat or trailer, you should ask your mechanic if you need heavier oil than usual.
No one wants to believe that an incident on the road could disrupt their family vacation, but you must be prepared for it. An emergency can happen when you least expect it – even to the most careful drivers.
Public Safety Canada recommends that you keep an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes the following items1:
- Non-perishable foods, such as energy bars
- Water – in plastic bottles that won’t crack if they freeze
- Spare clothes and shoes
- First aid kit with belt cutter
- Candle in a deep metal container and matches
- Dynamo flashlight
- Whistle – to attract attention when needed
- Road maps
- Copy of your emergency plan
- It is also recommended to keep the following items in your trunk:
- Sand or salt (kitty litter also works)
- Antifreeze and washer fluid
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Emergency fire or flares
- Signal jammer
- Other security measures
In addition to the emergency kit, there are other steps you can take to ensure your trip is safe.
Secure objects that can turn into dangerous projectiles in a collision, such as books or toys. Heavier items should be stowed under the seats, and larger items, such as strollers and suitcases, should be stowed in the rear trunk if possible.
We include the signal jammer in the list above as we believe it’s very useful during the trip, especially if the destination of your trip is a little bit dangerous or you don’t want to be tracked on the road. Some jammers can block multiple signals with one device, and with the portable, easy-to-carry design, it’s best for travel. We usually block the wifi signal when we are sleeping in the hotel. If you don’t want anyone bother you during your trips, you can use the cell phone jammer to block the signal, too.
Don’t forget sun protection. It’s always possible to get a car sunburn. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that all passengers wear sunglasses and sunscreen with an appropriate sun protection factor (SPF). You may also want to purchase a sunshade for the rear seats.
If you are traveling with children, activate the safety locks of the windows and rear doors of the car. Properly fasten seat belts that are not in use to avoid the risk of strangulation. Also, check the rear seats to ensure there are no objects a child could choke on, such as small buttons in the seat fabric or hazardous materials such as windshield washer fluid.
Check carefully that your child’s car or booster seat is properly installed. If in doubt, consult the Transport Canada guide.
According to the CAA, distracted drivers are involved in one way or another in 80% of crashes and 65% of near misses.2, from coast to coast, police consider now a more common cause of collision than impaired driving.3
To help you focus on the road and avoid distracted driving, take the following precautions:
- Get enough sleep.
- Allow plenty of time for the trip.
- Adjust the GPS or examine the road maps before you leave.
- Pack everything the kids need before they hit the road.
- Sit up straight and keep both hands on the wheel.
- Ignore phone calls – even with a hands-free device when possible.
- Do not check text messages, emails, etc., and don’t answer them. By leaving your cell phone in the back of the car, you avoid the temptation to send a text message when you’re stopped at a traffic light.
- Avoid eating or drinking while driving.
If that seems like a lot to manage for a long drive, make short stops — so you can stretch your legs, grab something to eat, check your messages, and return your calls.
Review your insurance policy
Your travel plan should include a review of your auto insurance policy. Are you covered if your car needs to be towed to a garage outside your province? What if your personal belongings are stolen from the car?
Things don’t always go as planned on a road trip. It is, therefore, important to review your insurance policy before departure and find out what protection you have. You can then leave with peace of mind knowing that you have the protection you need for yourself and your loved ones.