Long weekend driving tips
With Labour Day Weekend just around the corner, lots of people will be looking to get in one last summer road trip before the return to school routines. If you among those taking to the highway, you’re going to want to make sure your car is road-trip-ready.
- Top up your car’s windshield wiper fluid and ensure your tires are properly inflated, including your spare.
- Get some rest before you leave so you’re at your most alert.
- Make sure you’ve got all your car-related documents, including your driver’s licence, proof of car insurance, vehicle ownership, and registration.
- If your travels take you into another province, don’t rely solely on your provincial health care coverage should you fall ill or be injured. Get travel insurancethat covers your trips everywhere you may go in Canada.
- If you belong to a roadside assistance program, set up their number on your phone for easy access at a potentially stressful time.
- Pack an emergency roadside kit with things like a first-aid kit, toilet paper, paper towel, hand sanitizer, extra face masks, a basic toolkit, jumper cables, emergency reflectors, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and bottled water.
- Buckle up and make sure everyone in the car does as well.
- Long weekend traffic will be slow and driving aggressively will only increase the odds you’ll get into a collision or get a ticket. Be patient. If traffic congestion gets under your skin, try to avoid the masses by leaving earlier or later than the traditional peak traffic times.
- Once traffic lets up, don’t speed to make up time. Stick to the limit and be safer for it. Plus, you’ll also save a bit of money because speeding increases your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Spend less on gas (and avoid a ticket) by going the limit.
- Don’t drive distracted. If you’re hungry, eat before you leave or at the rest stop. Also, put your phone on mute and pre-program your route into the GPS.
- Have an alternative route planned in case your original route is too congested by traffic volume, or there’s a collision.
- If there is a collision on route, remember to give emergency personnel the space they need to do their job safely. Slow down and move over when passing stopped police, ambulance, fire trucks, or tow trucks with flashing lights.
- If your trip is more than a couple of hours long, plan a rest stop to get out of your vehicle to walk and stretch out your legs.
- Always leave a safe following distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. A following distance of at least two seconds in good weather and road conditions should do. But, if you’re following a large vehicle (that blocks your view) or a motorcycle (who may be able to stop quicker), allow at least three seconds. In poor weather, double the distance needed to stop safely.
- Signal your intentions. Remember when changing lanes to signal your intentions as other drivers expect you to stay in your lane. Also, avoid unnecessary lane changes, especially in heavy traffic, as you’re more likely to cause a collision.
- On your way home after the long weekend, be aware of driver fatigue. Try to get some rest before you head out, and if possible, share the driving responsibilities.