As the long Victoria Day weekend approaches (or “May two-four” as we prefer to call it on the east coast), more families and groups of friends are planning road trips than during any other time of year.
The much anticipated weekend is considered the unofficial start to summer by many which means it’s a time for getting out of town, going camping or heading to the cabin, and spending time outdoors with friends and family.
With so many drivers on the roads during the holiday, the risk of getting in an accident is much higher than during a regular weekend. In addition to increased traffic, the weather in our part of the country can be unpredictable to say the least, which can result in less than ideal road conditions.
If you’re planning to get out of town and take a road trip this weekend, check out these 10 tips to make sure you have a safe and comfortable drive.
- Know your route. Have a passenger take responsibility for directions and programming your navigation system. If driving alone, make sure you know your route before hitting the road.
- Tune up your vehicle. It only takes a few moments to inspect your tires, brakes, lights, and fluids to make sure everything is functioning properly. If you’re due for an oil change soon, have it done prior to your trip.
- Pack your vehicle safely. If you’re heading out for the long weekend, you’ve probably got a lot of stuff to bring. Safely and strategically packing your things is important so that windows are no being blocked and that there are no loose items posing safety hazards.
- Replace worn down wiper blades. Check the condition of your wiper blades before taking off for the weekend and don’t hesitate to replace them. Heavy rain is more common during this time of year and can reduce visibility to almost zero without proper wipers.
- Pack an emergency kit. If you were to become stranded while on the road it’s important to have a few crucial items. Pack a kit containing items like: food that won’t spoil, bottles of water, a first aid kit, an emergency blanket, a wind-up flashlight, a whistle, and roadmaps.
6. Create “zones” for kids and pets. Secure any children and/or pets in a designated zone and make sure they can’t move about the vehicle.
7. Turn on headlights in the fog. On the east coast, we’re no strangers to fog and its impact on visibility while driving. If you approach heavy fog, be sure to switch on your headlights. This can greatly help other drivers to see your vehicle from a distance.
8. Get a good sleep. On the night before you hit the road, it’s crucial to get a healthy amount of sleep. Driving without a proper amount of rest is incredibly dangerous. Aim to get 8 hours with a minimum of 7.
9. Reduce and eliminate distractions. Get rid of distractions by taking precautions like stowing your phone out of your reach, refraining from eating while driving, and keeping music to a reasonable volume. We encourage you to check out our blog post on distracted driving for a full list of precautions.
10. Make sure your insurance is up to date. Finally, make sure your insurance is up to date on your vehicle with all the proper coverages. If it’s been a while since you’ve looked over your policy, give your broker a quick call! Once you’ve checked on everything, be sure to keep your broker’s number handy in case you need to make a claim.
This May 24th, keep yourself, your family, and your friends safe. Take the extra time and thought to follow these tips and share them others. It could make a huge difference if something were to go wrong during your trip.
Have a safe and happy long weekend!