Summer’s arrival means it’s road trip season, and if you’re planning a long-distance car voyage, there are some special safety precautions you need to keep in mind. Long weekends, cottage getaways and family vacations mean that roads are busier than usual, and you also need to plan ahead to make sure your car is equal to the task.
Remember: staying claims-free is the best way to keep your Calgary car insurance rates low. Always put safety first when you’re behind the wheel by following these important road trip safety tips.
What to Do Before You Hit the Road
Before you leave town on a long trip , you should have your car checked out by a licensed mechanic or technician. This is especially important if you’re driving an older or high-mileage vehicle.
Also, be sure to bring an emergency safety kit. A well-stocked safety kit should include the following items:
- Drinking water
- Reflective triangles
- Non-perishable food items
- A first aid kit
- A jerry can with extra gasoline
- Extra prescription medications (if necessary)
- An extra cell phone with a fully charged battery
Plan your route before you leave, and if you don’t have a GPS device, consider investing in one. They are easier to use than maps, and can get you un-lost with relative ease if you make a wrong turn.
You should also join an automobile club, such as CAA, to be sure you can get roadside assistance if needed.
Calgary Car Insurance: Stay Safe While Driving
In addition to observing speed limits and traffic signs, you should also avoid distracted driving. Never take calls while you’re behind the wheel, and never read, compose or send text messages or emails as you’re driving, idling at a red light or stuck in traffic. If it’s absolutely necessary to use your cell phone, pull off the road to do so.
Driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and Calgary car insurance companies urge all drivers to schedule rest days and avoid extremely long periods of continuous driving. Remember, too, that a phenomenon called “road hypnosis” can set in if you maintain an even speed for an extended period of time. Keep your eyes busy by regularly scanning traffic and using your mirrors.
Keep an eye on these five important instrumentation gauges while you drive:
- Fuel. Even if you’ve brought along an extra gas can as recommended, you should still err on the side of caution when it comes to fueling up.
- Oil pressure. If you receive an oil pressure warning, do not keep driving. Pull into the next service station you see. The consequences of driving with inadequate oil pressure can be destructive.
- Battery life. Your electrical system will generate a warning if the vehicle isn’t producing enough juice to keep it functioning. Without addressing this problem, your car could suddenly shut right down.
- Temperature. Overheating is a real danger on a long trip, especially in summer. If your temperature gauge is rising, check to see if it lowers again once you slow down to city speeds. If it doesn’t, or if you reach warning levels, pull over and call for help.
- “Check engine.” Most vehicles have a “check engine” light, which signals miscellaneous mechanical problems. If yours comes on, follow its advice.
Make sure your companions review these important passenger safety tips as well. Older drivers also need to exercise added caution during long journeys.
If you’re going to be bringing your pet along, you should also take a moment to review these important pet safety tips.
Calgary Car Insurance Tips: Special Pointers for Driving at Night
Driving at night requires careful attention and a specialized skill set. Follow these tips to reduce your nighttime risk:
- Never speed on dark or poorly lit roads (or at all, for that matter)
- Do not use your high beams if facing oncoming traffic
- Use your vehicle’s low-beam headlights or fog lights if you’re driving in misty or foggy conditions
- Allow a generous following distance
Put Lane’s Insurance on Your Side
Lane’s Insurance is a leading provider of affordable car insurance for all types of drivers. Lane’s is an Alberta-based brokerage that works for you, not for the insurance companies, so you’ll always enjoy the best possible protection at the lowest possible rates. Visit us online to get a fast, free, no-obligation vehicle insurance quote, and be sure to stay safe on the road this summer!