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9 Tips For A Safe Summer Road Trip

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

There's nothing like the thrill of a road trip; discovering unique places, exploring different cities, and meeting new people make it the perfect summertime adventure. While there's no doubt taking a road trip is an excellent way to make unforgettable memories, it can also be dangerous if you don't take proper safety precautions. Ensure you and your passengers have a fun and exciting excursion with these tips for a safe summer road trip.

1. Do the proper prep work

Before you hit the road, take the time to have your car serviced to ensure it is in good working order. Many mechanics offer road trip packages that may include an oil change, alignment, tire check, and overall engine analysis. They will let you know of any current or potential problems that could arise on your journey, providing peace of mind knowing you can trust your vehicle to bring you to your destination safely.

2. Plan it out

While it's true that some of the best adventures happen when you head out with no destination in mind, you may find yourself in uncomfortable or unsafe situations if you choose to go this route. Creating a plan for your trip will help you avoid finding yourself lost or in a dangerous position, especially if you're heading to an area you've never visited before. A few areas you can plan ahead include:

  • Booking hotel rooms
  • Finding alternate routes
  • Mapping out gas stations
  • Making reservations for excursions and attractions

3. Purchase a roadside protection plan

Roadside protection plans are an excellent service for travellers as they provide assistance for many possible situations. For example, if you have a flat tire, run out of gas, break down, or even get lost, you can call a service representative who will send help right away so you aren't stranded on the side of the road. Many also offer discounts on hotel rooms, dining, attractions, and more. You can purchase roadside assistance through companies like AAA or, in some cases, your insurance.

4. Pack an emergency breakdown kit

You should always keep an emergency breakdown kit in your vehicle as it can be a lifesaver should you experience a flat tire or engine problem while travelling. You can find pre packaged kits in big box stores or online retailers like Amazon, or make your own. Items you should include are:

  • Flares
  • Jumper cables
  • Jack and ground mats
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Flashlight
  • Collapsible cones or flags

Chances are you'll never need to use it, but having a breakdown kit is a travel essential year-round.

5. Take breaks

It may be tempting to try to push through to your destination without taking breaks, but you could put your life and those around you at risk if you do. Driving while tired or fatigued is directly comparable to drunk driving, slowing your reaction time, impairing your judgement, and decreasing overall awareness. Sadly, fatigue-related motor vehicle collisions have increased by over 21%, causing around 400 fatalities and 2,100 severe injuries, according to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators. Stopping every few hours to stretch and walk around will help keep you alert and ward off drowsiness, ensuring you can pay attention to the road and not fall asleep behind the wheel.

6. Consider the weather

Paying attention to the weather forecast, not only in your current area but along your travel path, will help you prepare and plan accordingly. If you see storms are predicted in a particular location, you may want to plan on staying there for the day and checking out local attractions before heading out when the weather clears. However, if you encounter an unexpected squall while on the road, be sure to slow down and put on your headlights. If you must pull to the side of the road, don't forget to put on your hazard lights, but check the local ordinances before driving with them on, as it is illegal in certain areas.

7. Wear sunglasses

This tip may seem slightly strange, but protecting your eyes is essential while driving. Summertime means the sun is out in full force, bringing harmful UV rays with it. It also causes intense glares from other vehicles and the road, which can impair your vision. Wearing a quality pair of polarised sunglasses will cut down the glare while lessening eye fatigue and reducing damage.

8. Limit distractions

If you've ever been in a car with a distracted driver, you know how dangerous and scary it is. In Canada alone, around 1,000 fatal car accidents occur yearly due to distracted driving, a statistic that is even more devastating considering it is an avoidable occurrence. Keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road safe by never texting while driving, using only hands-free devices if you must make a call, and limiting other distractions like music, eating, and talking. While you want to enjoy your time on the road, safely arriving at your destination is most important.

9. Be aware of fire bans

Checking for fire bans at your destination or along your route will help you plan your trip accordingly. While there are fire risks year-round, between May and September is prime forest fire season both in Canada and the United States. The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System will alert you to any potential risks throughout Canada, while InciWeb provides similar information throughout the U.S.

Enjoy your summer road trip by following these safe driving tips to help keep you and your passengers safe. With a little bit of preparation and vigilance, you can create beautiful memories along your journey that you'll treasure for a lifetime!

At BIG, we recognize the importance of staying protected on the roads no matter where it takes you. Even when you follow all of the steps to reduce your risks, accidents still happen, and you want the peace of mind of quality coverage at an affordable price. Contact your broker to make sure you are covered in the event that you hit a deer with your car with comprehensive coverage. To get a no-obligation auto insurance quote, contact us to get in touch with a trusted BIG broker!

By: Liz Stephenson