What Families Should Take Care of before Planning a Road Trip

Monday, June 17, 2013

Driving in the countryWith the official start to summer is only a few short weeks away, many Albertans are making good use of their time by taking care of certain responsibilities now so that they don't have to worry about them later, such as updating their car insurance policy and having their vehicle looked at before they head out on vacation.

But before motorists pack in to the family car for summer getaways, there are a wide variety of issues that travelers need to account for so that they can ensure that their summer vacation starts off on the right foot. Wheels.ca automotive expert Ian Law offers some tips on what some of these preparations ought to include.

Ensure trailers are installed property

For example, road trippers who plan on staying somewhere for an extended period of time may require more space than what their vehicle alone offers. Trailers satisfy this issue, but they can create more problems than they're worth if they're not strapped in properly. Before taking off, Law recommends examining the tail lights so that they are synchronized with the brake pedal. In addition, once this has been satisfied, motorists should adjust the way in which they drive, making sure that they give themselves some extra distance from the nearest car that's ahead of them in traffic. That's because it usually takes longer for a vehicle towing a trailer to come to a stop.

It's for this reason that tailgating is an especially bad idea. Riding close to a vehicle's bumper not only increases the risk that a car insurance claim may need to be made due to a rear-end collision, but it's an exercise in futility. In other words, as Law notes, "it won't make the line of traffic in front of you move any faster."

Don’t rush!

While families may be in a hurry to get their intended destination, there's something to be said for getting there in comfort. Law suggests that for any trip lasting longer than two hours, take advantage of the rest stops that are available on the way. These provide passengers with bathroom breaks, refreshments and the ability to stretch out.

As a general rule, traffic volume tends to increase in Alberta during the summer season, mainly because the province is one of the most scenic of the 10 that reside within the country's borders. But Law points out that traffic volume is high just about everywhere else during the warmest time of year. Thus, for those who can't stand heightened congestion, consider getting an early start to the day by trying to hit the road before others do. This is usually around dawn or just prior to the sun rising.

Hit the road with a GPS

Thanks to advancements in technology, getting lost along the way isn't quite the problem it used to be, given the ubiquity of GPS units that often come standard in today's vehicles. However, there are those occasions in which these systems can be inaccurate. It's advisable to go over the intended travel route that the unit lays out to see if it matches with a road map.

Something else that Law recommends with regards to GPS is not over relying on them. Due to the sounds and colorful illustrations that they show, these systems can often be distracting and cause motorists to take their eyes off the road for too long. Ensure that any glances at the GPS are as limited as possible.

Canada may be chock full of locations and destinations that make for a pleasant summer vacation, but Albertans can satisfy their inner tourist by visiting the province's largest city. About $1.1 billion is contributed to the local economy all as a result of the tourist attractions that Calgary offers.