Tips to keep you safe on your road trip this summer

By: Joel Kranc on August 3, 2023
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Who doesn’t love a good, long road trip? Wouldn't anyone love cruising along the Canadian Rockies with the sun and summer breeze in their hair?  

Canadians, particularly, look forward to warmer months for an opportunity to pack up the family and head out on the open road.  

It’s a great and economical way to see the world. In fact, a survey from the Angus Reid Forum notes that more than 74% of Canadians are planning to take road trips this summer, despite high gas prices and inflation.  

But as every driver knows, getting in your car comes with risks, especially when you’re travelling long distances.  

Risks on a long road trip  

There is of course, the obvious risks of collision and theft, vandalism, flat tires, and car breakdowns, which can happen anywhere and anytime.  

However, the longer you spend on the road, the more risks can pile up, like driver fatigue. With long hours on the road, fatigued or drowsy drivers are one cause of accidents. Some other road trip mishaps include collisions or encounters with wildlife, extreme weather conditions, remote areas without cell phone service (and therefore, fewer ways to contact emergency services), impaired driving (especially on bachelor or bachelorette trips or over the holidays), and more. 

So, what if you get into a collision that turns out to be more serious than a simple fender bender? 

What to do in the event of a collision 

Before you do anything, make sure you and your passengers are all right. Once you have confirmed that everyone is unharmed, you’ll have to exchange your details with the other driver, if you were in a collision that involved one or more vehicles. It’s similar to how you’d handle an accident at home.  

Since you’re not in your home province, you’ll also want to call your auto insurance company immediately to find out what to do next. 

The good news is that your Canadian driver’s insurance follows you wherever you are in both Canada and in the U.S. You and your passengers will be protected, and your accidental benefits coverage should cover some U.S. medical expenses.  


Prepare yourself for anything 

It’s best to talk to your insurance company ahead of your trip to see exactly what you’re covered for when you’re driving away from home. Also, consider getting extra trip or travel insurance before you go to help close the insurance gaps your provider may not cover while you’re away.  

The procedure for filing a claim in another province or U.S. state is the same as filing one in your home province. You would contact your insurance broker and provide them with all the necessary details to make your claim. 

Also, if your car requires mechanical work, you’ll need to take your car to a mechanic who can assess if your car can be repaired quickly or if your insurance company deems the car a loss. A quick fix will get you back on the road, and hopefully it’ll only be a short interruption to your travel plans.  

A loss is a more serious situation, and you may have to cut your trip short or find alternative means of getting around.  

Related: What exactly is a preferred body shop? 

What if your car is a total loss? 

Generally speaking, your insurance policy will cover your damages, including a total loss, when the cause of the loss is covered under your policy.  

Collision and comprehensive car insurance policies will provide coverage for a wide variety of scenarios, such as traffic accidents, collisions with animals, and non-collision events like theft, fallen trees, or weather damage. Any of these situations could result in a total loss, in which case your policy would cover the value of your car.  

If you have coverage for transportation replacement or loss of use, your insurance will also cover the cost of a rental vehicle


Going way down south?  

As previously stated, your Canadian coverage will work in both Canada and the U.S. However, it has no legal jurisdiction in Mexico. If you’re taking a road trip to Mexico, you’ll need to purchase additional car insurance for your car while you are there. Otherwise, if you rely only on your Canadian insurance without additional coverage and are involved in a collision, you could pay huge sums and potentially face jail time until the claim is settled.  

If you’re going to Mexico, research the insurance companies you are dealing with and ensure they have an English-speaking customer service team to help you should you need to make a claim. 


Precautions to take before you head out on your road trip 

Before you head out on your road trip, it’s always a good idea to take a few precautions to make sure there are no bumps in your journey.  

For example: 

  • Inspect your tires.  

  • Ensure your oil and other fluids have been changed and are up to date. 

  • Talk to your insurance provider about your coverage and if additional coverage is needed. 

  • Stay off your mobile device while driving. 

  • Make sure you’re taking enough breaks to get the rest that you require to avoid fatigue. 

  • Keep an emergency kit in your car. 

  • Pack proper tools to change a tire or other items that may break down. 

  • Invest in a car security system. 

With these few handy pre-travel tips and a good attitude, your summer road trip should be the experience of a lifetime.  

The road is calling. 

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