Road Trip Safety Tips

Now that school is out for summer, you might be planning a family road trip.

Road trips are great ways to get away from home and see the country. Such excursions enable travellers to get up close and personal with various attractions and afford them a chance to travel at their own pace. No matter where the road may take you, safety should always be a priority.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board estimates that there are 160,000 car accidents each year in Canada. When planning your next road trip, these tips can ensure everyone stays safe.

PLAN WHERE TO GET GAS

Even the most fuel-efficient vehicle will need to be filled up during long road trips. To ensure you’re not running on “E” with no fuel station on the horizon, plan in advance where you will take breaks to get gas. Try not to run under one-quarter tank of gas, and coordinate gas stops with opportunities to recharge and visit restrooms.

STOCK THE CAR

Breakdowns happen, even with well-maintained vehicles. Stock an emergency roadside kit and keep it in the car at all times.

Kits should include:

• mobile phone and charger

• flashlight

• first aid kid

• jumper cables

• jack and tire-changing tools

• flares

• water and nonperishable foods

• paper maps

• emergency blankets, towels and changes of clothes

Keep the number of a roadside service, and phone numbers for emergency contacts in the glove compartment just in case cell phone service is spotty.

TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS

Driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after being awake for 18 hours, the human body functions like someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent. After being awake for 24 hours, it’s equal to 0.10 percent, or the equivalent of a 160 pound man drinking five beers in an hour. Don’t wait to feel tired to pull over. Make frequent stops or switch drivers to give everyone breaks.

KEEP WEATHER IN MIND

Let the season and the forecast dictate your route. Ensure windshield wipers are working and blades are effective. Consult weather forecasts to determine if thunderstorms will be in the area or if it will be especially windy. Never drive through flooded roadways.

DON’T FORGET MASKS & SANITIZER

Travelling during the era of COVID-19 requires taking extra precautions. Wear masks and sanitize your hands during bathroom breaks and rest stop visits. Road trips are an exciting way to travel. Safety should be part of the planning process.

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