But getting to perfect utopic isolation often involves trekking hundreds of kilometers along highways, roads and even unmarked roads. And navigating to cottage country in your car carries new road safety risks and perils not present in the city.
Here are some road safety tips for driving to cottage country this summer:
1. Prepare for your journey
Before setting out on the road, always ensure your car is tuned up and filled up on essential fluids to avoid becoming stranded on a busy roadway. In addition to delaying your arrival time at your destination, a vehicle breakdown can be hazardous to other motorists. Even if your car is shipshape, always be prepared for long periods of waiting for roadside assistance in the unlikely event of a breakdown.
2. Plan a route
Going to the cottage this long weekend? So is everyone else. While the most direct route may be the shortest way on paper, as most cottagers know, sometimes primary highways become parking lots on weekends of high travel volume. Plan alternate routes or look for ways to bypass areas of probably congestion.
3. Check before you tow
Since a trailer is legally considered a separate vehicle, check to see what is required before you can tow it on a public road. In Ontario, for example, you are required to register your trailer and install safety features, like a red tail light and two red reflectors at the rear of the trailer. Always ensure all trailer contents are flagged and securely fastened and that your vehicle is strong enough to tow them, especially for large contents like a boat, for example.
Note: It is illegal for any person to ride in the trailer or camper while it is being towed.
4. Slow down
Although you’d rather be lakeside than putting more clicks on your car, getting to cottage country should never be a race. For your own safety and for the road safety of others, always drive within speed limits and be aware of changing weather conditions.
5. Be aware of wildlife
No, those yellow signs featuring deer and moose are not just for show. Although you are visiting cottage country for your vacation, many animals call the surrounding dark forests home. When driving, always be on the lookout for any wildlife attempting to cross the road, especially around sunset or nighttime. Not only can a collision with a deer be fatal to the animal, but it can damage your car or cause injury to you and your passengers.