With winter “officially” in the rearview mirror, and a three-day weekend on the horizon, there are two things you can count on this holiday long weekend: the potential for unpredictable weather and lots of traffic. If you’ll be hitting the road this long weekend, rock your road trip with these safety essentials and tips.
- Prepare your vehicle
Top up your car’s windshield wiper fluid, check the tire pressure, and remember to travel with an emergency roadside safety kit.
- Make sure you’ve got all your car-related documents
No matter where you’re travelling this weekend, your car insurance coverage will follow you should something go wrong. Just make sure you have your driver’s licence, insurance documents, ownership and registration handy.
- Drive only when well rested
Only hit the road if you’re well rested. It’s been estimated that about 20 per cent of fatal collisions in Canada involve driver fatigue.
- Check your route before leaving
The calendar may say that winter is over, but springtime weather can be unpredictable and road conditions can change quickly. Check the weather reports before you leave, so you know what you’re driving into.
- Listen to traffic reports
Listen to local traffic reports on route to stay abreast of what’s happening on the roads ahead, and have a back-up route planned in case there’s a collision or incident that causes traffic to come to a crawl.
- Slow down
If there’s rain in the forecast (or worse, snow) adjust your driving to fit the conditions. Foul weather and poor visibility requires you to drive at a slower speed than what’s posted. Posted speed limits designate the fastest speed at which you can safely travel in optimal road conditions. When roads—and the weather—are not optimal, slow down.
- Related Read: Tips for Driving in the Fog
- Be patient
Chances are there will be traffic at some point. But driving aggressively—speeding and tailgating—will only increase your risk of, at best, getting a ticket and, at worst, causing a collision.
- Give yourself some space
Keep enough distance between your vehicle and the car in front to allow for safe stopping. If the weather is foul, it’s best to double the two-second rule to ensure you have enough room to stop safely if needed. This means, a four-second interval from the time the car in front of you passes a fixed object until you reach the same object.
Follow the rules of the road
Like any long weekend, you can probably count on a heavy police presence on the roads. Follow the speed limit, signal your lane changes, buckle up, put the phone away and don’t drive impaired, because it’s about more than just keeping your car insurance rates low, it’s about arriving at your destination safely.