With Canada’s 150th anniversary and the low Canadian dollar, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is predicting that a large number of drivers will take a road trip within the country this summer.
“Canada has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and one of the best ways to experience them is by driving,” said Jeff Walker, vice-president of public affairs for CAA National.
“There is no doubt Canadians will be taking plenty of road trips this summer, and CAA wants to make sure they are prepared.”
Last summer, CAA helped 750,000 Canadians from the roadside, the majority of which involved battery problems, tire issues, or people locking their keys in the vehicle. Almost half of the calls required the car be towed to a second location for additional assistance.
CAA offers the following tips to plan a safe and stress-free summer road trip:
- Summer is a busy time for most popular Canadian destinations, so it is important to plan ahead. Download the Passport 2017 app to learn about events and locations for the Canada 150 celebrations.
- Take your vehicle in for an inspection a few weeks before your trip. Have the oil changed, fluid levels checked, battery tested, and tires inspected. This will help catch any issues with the vehicle, and if there are any, there will be plenty of time to get them repaired.
- Pack emergency supplies. CAA recommends including a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, water and non-perishable foods, a basic toolkit with a tire pressure gauge and wrench, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, and emergency flares or reflectors.
- Avoid a lockout by bringing a spare set of keys and keeping them separated from your set or giving them to another passenger. Avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water and remember to replace the battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
- Even with planning ahead some breakdowns can’t be avoided so before you hit the road download the free CAA app. Both members and non-members can use the app to request roadside assistance. The app also includes travel information such as the closest gas station, accommodations, and more.
- Ensure documents are up-to-date, including driver’s licence, licence plate stickers, vehicle insurance, travel insurance, and CAA membership.
In addition to being prepared, CAA also offers travel advice to keep everyone safe:
- Reduce distractions while driving. If you are driving with someone designate a texter and ask them to answer all phone calls and text messages. If you are driving alone, before you leave let friends and family know you will be driving and won’t be able to take calls or text.
- Never drive while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
- Slow down and move over for emergency vehicles, including police, ambulances, firetrucks, and tow trucks. It is the law in most provinces across Canada and it is a safe driving practice.
- If your vehicle breaks down pull out of traffic, if possible. Pulling off the road will decrease the chance of your vehicle being hit. Remember to turn on your emergency hazard lights to increase visibility.
- Don’t drive drowsy. Get a good night’s sleep before driving and take frequent breaks to reduce driver fatigue.