It’s summertime, which also means it’s vacation time! Thousands of Albertans are packing up their families and pets and hitting the roads, driving for hundreds, sometimes thousands of kilometres to get to their vacation destination.
Road trips are great. As a driver, you can stop anywhere you like along the way for some sightseeing or a savoury treat at one of the country’s many interesting small-town attractions. You can enjoy the company of your family and friends at the same time as taking in the amazing scenery along Canada’s major and minor highways. But the one thing you really can’t do is stop paying attention.
Keep your vehicle insurance rates low and get your friends, family, and everyone else on the road safely and securely to their destination with these road trip safety tips.
Data from Transport Canada’s Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics: (2016) States that more fatal crashes occur on rural than urban roads. In the year of the report, there were 958 deaths on rural roads as compared to 746 on urban motorways. The rural number accounts for a much higher overall percentage of crashes as well, at 3.3% as compared to 0.9%.
This discrepancy can by attributed to simply driving too fast. Speeding greatly increases your chance of a serious accident. It escalates the opportunity to make an error, and mistakes were what caused 86.4 per cent of the total collisions in the province in 2015, according to the Alberta Government. And reflexes just aren’t quick enough. The average time it takes for a driver to react to a sudden situation is 1.5 seconds, which is not likely to be quick enough. The Canada Safety Council says that speed is a factor in 12 per cent of all accidents, and 30 per cent of fatal accidents.
Long-Distance Driving Guidelines
Before you leave town on a long trip, check your license and vehicle insurance to make everything is up to date and you have the proper paperwork in your car and wallet.
Also have your car checked out by a licensed mechanic or technician. Get all the necessary repairs made, and make sure your fluids are all topped off, your tires are properly inflated and aligned, and that you’re carrying extra windshield washer fluid just in case.
And make sure to get plenty of rest before you leave. Driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Schedule plenty of rest stops and avoid extremely long periods of being behind the wheel continuously. A phenomenon called “road hypnosis” can set in if you maintain an even speed for too long without variation. Keep your eyes busy by regularly scanning traffic and using your mirrors.
Sharing the Road
Remember, driving is not a right, it’s a privilege, and we need to share the road with all types of drivers. Be conscious and aware of those who may be nervous and unsure of where they are going. Don’t get frustrated. You will only increase their anxiety and therefore their chances of making a major mistake.
Never try to tangle with an overly aggressive driver as well. Ease off and allow them to pass and get well ahead of you. Road rage can be deadly. The best thing you can do is avoid these types of drivers altogether.
Counteract those bad habits but demonstrating positive ones. Good driving habits tend to have a ripple effect on the road.
No Distracted Driving
In addition to observing speed limits and traffic signs, never drive distracted. It is against the law to take calls while you’re behind the wheel without a hands-free device. You must also set your GPS before you start driving. Trying to program yours while in motion qualifies as distracted driving, and in fact, many built-in devices won’t let you.
Have the person in the passenger seat act as your co-pilot and allow them to take control of everything in the car except for the driving. They can program the GPS and organize the music, plus reach around for anything you may need. They can also help keep kids and pets under control.
Car Emergency Kits
If your car breaks down, first, turn on your hazard lights to let other drivers know there is an issue. Pull over to the shoulder of the road if you are able, but if you can’t make it, don’t panic. Allow your vehicle to come to a stop, but do not exit unless there is a safe area to move to. Exit from the door away from traffic, and never stand near the vehicle, as other drivers may not see you. Make note of the exact location of your vehicle as well as what went wrong to inform roadside assistance.
Keep your hazard lights on to make your vehicle as visible as possible. Also set up the emergency reflector triangles from your emergency kit if it is safe to do so. Use our resource to ensure your emergency kit has everything it needs before leaving.
Vehicle Insurance in Calgary: Trust the Experts at Lane’s
Lane’s Insurance is a full-service Alberta-based insurance brokerage, offering outstanding rates on a complete range of insurance products provided by the best companies in Canada. We work for you, providing professional, personalized service to ensure you get the best coverage at the lowest rates. Contact a Lane’s Insurance customer service representative for more information.