02/12/2014 0 Comments
Are You Ready for an Adventurous Road Trip? 5 Tips to Keep You Safe
Nova Scotia offers residents some unbeatable road trips. The diverse culture, fascinating history, and breathtaking natural wonders in our province mean there's a perfect road trip for everyone, from foodies to families, casual gardeners to avid artists.
Before you hit the open road to seek adventure, it's important to prepare so your trip will also be safe. Use these tips as you get ready for a fun road trip.
1. Check Your Auto Insurance Policy
Make a thorough review of your auto insurance policy your first step in planning your road trip, even before you decide your stops and destinations. Read through your policy, or call your broker for an in-depth review of its ins and outs.You'll probably want to review the fine print on these policy features:
- Who can drive. Most auto insurance policies only cover accidents that occur when a driver named on the policy is behind the wheel. Knowing who's named on your policy helps you plan drivers for each leg of your journey and assign other roles to non-drivers.
- Whether your policy covers rental cars. If you'll be taking a rental car instead of a personal vehicle, be sure to ask if your policy covers rental car damage. You can add this to your policy if it's not already covered.
- What roadside assistance options you have. Road trips take you away from home—and outside the service area of your favourite auto repair shop. Ask your broker if your policy includes roadside assistance, and get details about how to use that service if you need it.
- How to report an accident. You hope your road trip will be accident-free from start to finish, but it's best to plan for the worst eventuality just in case. You can be calmer after an accident if you know how to report it to your broker and what information to obtain from the other driver and the police officers on the scene.
2. Plan Your Route
Once you've reviewed your auto insurance policy, decide the waypoints on your journey. Having a plan allows you to stay on schedule. Make sure to incorporate breaks into your driving schedule. Aim for at least a 20-minute bathroom and food break every 2-3 hours.
You might be tempted to head out without a specific plan. That sounds more adventurous, but you'll probably enjoy your trip more if you have a general itinerary. You can still make occasional detours along the way, but a plan ensures that you visit all the must-see sites on your list.
Once you know your route and your time frame, you can make reservations, which saves you time and money. Picking hotels and campgrounds as you go along can be costly. You might arrive when lodgings are overcrowded, forcing you to pay extra or travel off your path for a less expensive option.
3. Stock an Emergency Kit
As you pack your bags for the trip, pack a roadside emergency kit as well. You can buy basic first aid kits and roadside disaster kits at a general goods store. Supplement these basic kits with these supplies:
- A recent paper map (helpful in case you lose GPS or cell phone reception or power)
- A phone charger that plugs into your car
- Water bottles
- Healthy high fiber or high protein snacks
- Flashlights and batteries
- A battery-operated radio
4. Check Your Car
Since your car becomes your second home during a road trip, you should be sure it's safe to make the entire journey. Check the following systems before you hit the road:
- Oil level
- Brakes and brake fluid
- Windshield washer fluid
- Wiper blades
- Tire pressure and tire tread wear
- Air filter
- Lights and signals
- Any system you've had trouble with in the past 12 months
If you don't feel confident performing the road trip check, take your car to an experienced mechanic. Many mechanics perform road trip safety checks for a low price.
5. Follow the Rules of Safe Driving
Safety on a road trip means adhering to all traffic laws and practicing defensive driving techniques. It also means using common sense. Some common sense driving practices sound stodgy and boring, but at their heart, they prioritize the safety of you and your passengers.On your road trip, make sure you adhere to these rules:
- Make the driver and all passengers wear seatbelts whenever the car is in motion. Wearing seatbelts is the law in Canada.
- Do not text and drive.
- Pull over during unsafe driving conditions.
- Drive only when you are fully rested, not fatigued or drowsy.
- Drive sober.
- Have a designated driver if members of your travelling group will be consuming alcohol.
After you finish these preparatory steps, nothing stands between you and a safe, adventurous road trip. What are you waiting for? Nova Scotia holds many exciting spots just waiting for you to discover them.