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Long trips: Are you (really) ready?

Last update: Dec. 22, 2015, at 4:18 pm

Preparing to go on a long car trip is not the same as getting ready to take the kids to their favourite activity!


Taking your youngest to soccer? It’s easy to make a to-do list: Put their gear in the trunk, take a bottle of water and—try not to forget your child at home. In more complicated cases, you might have to make a detour to pick up another member of the team.

But oddly enough, we often prepare less for longer trips. The end result is that we forget things, and that can have catastrophic consequences. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transport, drowsy driving is becoming a factor in an increasing number of car accidents. In fact, it estimates that it plays a part in 26% of fatal crashes.

Here are a few points to consider before leaving on a long drive so you avoid hassles en route and arrive safe and sound.

Prepare your vehicle

  • Make sure that an oil change and tune-up have been done recently.
  • Don’t postpone vehicle maintenance like brake and fan belt replacement.
  • Make sure the cooling system still has enough antifreeze.

Prevent drowsy driving

  • If you are driving alone, plan to stop and sleep.
  • If you are driving with someone else or a group, you can always take turns at the wheel. Otherwise, find a hotel in advance.
  • Depending on the drivers’ experience, make sure there’s a co-pilot to keep them alert throughout the trip. A good co-pilot will have a strategy to keep you entertained while on the road.

Did you know that fatigue is the third leading cause of death on the road? Each year, an average of 95 people die and 9,227 are injured in fatigue-related accidents in Quebec.

Visualize your journey

  • Look at each stage of your trip in advance. Are you going through major cities? If so, plan to do it at a time of the day when you’re most likely to avoid frustrating traffic jams.
  • If you are using a GPS or a smartphone, question the route it suggests. The shortest route is not necessarily the best one.
  • Get a cellphone holder so you don’t have to hold your phone. It only takes a moment to get a ticket or have an accident.
  • If you are crossing the border, you will need a passport or NEXUS card. Also, the date or time you cross can cause headaches.
  • For trips outside Canada, call your mobile service provider before you leave to choose the best voice and data options.

What about your home?

Are you leaving your home empty for an extended period?

  • Call and notify your insurance company.
  • Don’t tell everyone on social media when you’re leaving or how long you’ll be gone.
  • Leave lights on and ask your neighbours to collect your flyers.
  • Turn off the water supply to your washing machine.
  • If you are travelling on your own, give a family member your itinerary and phone numbers for the places where you will stop.

Now you’re ready to go. Drive safely!


Other topics of interest:

Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and to Certas Direct Insurance Company in Ontario and Alberta. Certain restrictions, exclusions and limitations may apply.

Ajusto is available from Desjardins Insurance. ® Ajusto is a registered trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Inc., used with permission by Certas Direct Insurance Company. The discount does not apply to certain endorsements and additional coverages. It will be automatically applied to the premium at the time of renewal. Ajusto is only available in Ontario and Quebec.

All information is provided for information purposes only, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for it. We recommend using caution and consulting a property and casualty insurance agent for comprehensive, personalized advice.

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