The weather is already heating up around BC and all signs point to the early arrival of summer. So, some households may have road trips on the mind. First and foremost, keep up to date with the latest recommendations from BC’s Provincial Health Officer and only plan a road trip if it is considered safe to do so. Even with a green light for local travel, you should take extra precautions before hitting the open road with your crew this season. Park is here to expand on our past articles on summertime road trip safety to factor in current health and safety concerns.
5 New Precautions to Take Before Taking a Road Trip in the Summer of COVID-19
1. Add Sanitizing Gear to Your Road Safety Kit
No road trip should be taken without an emergency kit in the trunk, complete with extra fuel, flares, jumper cables, clothing, and so forth. But in the summer of 2020 you must include antibacterial soap along with cleaning solutions and hand sanitizers with at least a 70% isopropanol base. Along the way you will stop at gas stations, road side eateries, public restrooms, hotels, campgrounds, and a variety of off-highway attractions. In addition you may pull over to assist someone with a broken down vehicle, or vice versa. Your vehicle may also require servicing along the way, with mechanics having to assist. Make sure you and your passengers are able to thoroughly wash and clean your hands and personal items (smartphones, etc.) soon after exposure to any potentially contaminated surfaces.
2. Load Up on Food and Beverages
Double or triple the number of snacks and beverages you would normally pack for a road trip. This reduces your reliance on access to public eateries. This is not only important to minimize your potential exposure to outside health risk, but to address the possibility that the cafes, truck stops, and fruit stands along the way are not open. While the Google Map may say they are, some businesses have closed down or adjusted their hours of operation during the economic lockdown. The updates may not be reflected on the Google Map (or their own social media pages) which can leave unprepared drivers and passengers without options. Assume that you won’t have access to refreshments on the road this summer – and pack accordingly.
3. Map It Out
Efficiency is everything when it comes to road trips this summer. You need to get to your intended destination as expediently as possible. By reducing the time spent on the road and number of stops needed along the way, you create a safer environment for all in your vehicle. Thankfully all routes around BC are wide open (at press) so you can effectively map out the route that will get you to your destination without a problem. If driving into another province, you also need to factor in travel advisories for certain provincial border crossings, and adjust your route if needed.
4. Don’t Forget the Usual Summer Driving Hazards
This carries over from the point above. Just because you mapped out there perfect route, does not mean all will go smooth. The summer season introduces a number of unique threats to safe driving. These potential threats may change the routes you need to take, or may adjust the intended time of departure. These possible hazards may include BC wildfires and lightening storms in addition to wildlife sightings on roadways, and even the presence of highway cyclists. Monitor provincial reports for wildfire, wildlife, and weather events, and follow these tips to navigating around cyclists. Have your backup routes mapped out before hitting the road.
5. Update Relevant Insurance Policies
You should always connect to an independent broker to receive a comprehensive review of your automobile insurance before taking a road trip. During the summer of COVID-19 this is even more important. Should there be a motor vehicle accident (MVA) you want to ensure that you have fewer complications to attend to, especially if you need to manage policy concerns from your destination city or some town that you’re stuck in along the way. Ensure you have comprehensive coverage and review your ICBC Autoplan and private automobile insurance. But it doesn’t stop there. Even though you are driving within Canada, there may be limits as to what your BC and/or private health plan covers from province to province. By being out of province you may not be covered for certain medical services such as ground and air ambulance transportation, emergency dental care, and access to prescription drugs. You need to make sure that you have appropriate travel medical coverage. Such a thing has never been more important.