Man sitting on the road, leaning against his car

Preparing for Your Summer Road Trip.

Published in Driving Tips

As summer comes around the corner, so does the era of summer road trips. Whether you’re planning a cross-country adventure or a weekend getaway, preparation is key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey. We put together a comprehensive guide to help you cruise through your trip with ease and security.

Vehicle maintenance is the foundation of a safe road trip.

Before you start packing, let’s start with ensuring your vehicle is in top-notch condition. Here are some crucial maintenance tasks to check in on:

  1. Oil and fluid levels: Check your oil, coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. These fluids are vital for the smooth operation of your vehicle.
  2. Tires: Ensure your tires are correctly inflated and have adequate tread. Don’t forget to check the spare tire and bring along a jack and lug wrench.
  3. Brakes: Have your brakes inspected to ensure they are in good working condition before you set off. Faulty brakes can lead to dangerous situations, especially on winding or hilly roads.
  4. Battery: Test your battery to ensure it has a full charge. Summer heat can be harsh on batteries, and the last thing you want is to be stranded with a dead battery.
  5. Lights and signals: Check all your lights and signals, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. Visibility is crucial, especially if you’ll be driving at night.

Packing smart – essentials for safety and comfort.

Packing for a road trip requires a balance between stocking up on necessary items and keeping your vehicle clutter-free. Here’s a checklist to get you started:

  1. First-Aid kit: Accidents can happen, and a well-stocked first-aid kit is a must. Include bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any personal medications.
  2. Emergency kit: In addition to the first-aid kit, have an emergency kit with a flashlight, batteries, blankets, non-perishable snacks, water, and a multi-tool.
  3. Navigation tools: While most people rely on GPS, it’s wise to bring physical maps as a backup. If you travel off the beaten path where cell service could be spotty, paper maps can be a lifesaver.
  4. Personal documents: Always carry your driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance information, and roadside assistance contact details.

Planning your route – do your research, but be flexible.

A well-planned route can make your road trip more enjoyable and less stressful. Here are some tips for planning your destinations along the way.

  1. Research destinations: Identify key locations and attractions you want to visit. Make note of their operating hours and any special events.
  2. Check road conditions: Look up current road conditions and construction projects. Websites like the Department of Transportation or mobile apps can provide real-time updates.
  3. Plan rest stops: Regular breaks are essential to avoid fatigue. Plan rest stops every three hours or so, and take advantage of scenic viewpoints and local attractions.
  4. Flexible itinerary: While having a plan is good, be flexible with your itinerary. Unexpected detours or interesting sights can make your trip more memorable. Allow some buffer time in your schedule for spontaneity.

Insurance check-up – peace of mind on the road.

Before embarking on your trip, review your auto insurance policy. Here’s why it’s important:

  1. Coverage verification: Ensure your coverage is up-to-date. Understand what your policy covers, including liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. Read our blog on debunking common car insurance myths to brush up on what your coverage means.
  2. Roadside assistance: If you don’t already have it, consider adding roadside assistance to your policy. It can provide help with towing, flat tires, and other emergencies.
  3. Travel insurance can be a wise investment, depending on your trip’s length and destination. It can cover trip cancellations, medical expenses, and lost luggage.

What do you do if you get traffic tickets on a road trip?

Receiving a speeding ticket while away from home can be a stressful and costly experience. It’s essential to know how your insurance coverage handles such situations. Also, check out our blog on what traffic tickets mean for your car insurance to understand more.

  1. Traffic laws and knowledge: Make sure to research and understand the traffic laws in the provinces or potential states you’ll be travelling through to avoid tickets, such as the illegal right turn on a red light in Quebec.
  2. Dealing with fines: If you get a ticket, paying it online as soon as possible is recommended. Avoiding repercussions across provincial/state lines is not a realistic outcome. Instead, tickets can follow you to CRA collections and come out of your tax refund with interest.
  3. Fighting out-of-province tickets: On the other hand, you can fight your ticket, requiring you to return to the location where you were ticketed to appear in local court.
  4. Getting a ticket in the U.S.: It’s important to remember that an American traffic ticket will affect you the same way as in your home city, such as higher insurance rates, demerit points added to your license, or, in extreme cases, a license suspension.

Hopefully, with preparation and knowledge, you can set off on your summer road trip with a stress-free mindset. At Bauld Insurance, we’re here to support you with the coverage and peace of mind you need.

Visit our web page for more information and frequently asked questions on Car and Auto Insurance or to request a Car Insurance Quote.