QUEBEC CITY, July 19, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - With thousands of Quebecers set to hit the road over the next few days throughout Quebec, the rest of Canada and the United States for the traditional two-week summer holiday period, CAA-Quebec would like to remind them to drive very safely, keeping in mind a number of important tips.
Start off on the right foot
One of the keys to preparing for a long drive is to get plenty of rest beforehand. Since we all know that "slow and steady wins the race," it's better to plan the journey to include frequent stops (ideally every two hours) so that there is time to stretch your muscles, give the kids a break and get something to eat.
"Fatigue is the third-leading cause of death on Quebec's roads," stresses Yvon Lapointe, Director, Road Safety Education, CAA-Quebec. "Taking a break for a few minutes every couple of hours helps deal with fatigue and the accumulated stress of driving. As well, having a light snack during these breaks doesn't cause the same sleepy feeling one often gets after eating a heavy meal."
Keep a safe distance
Drivers should stay at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of them. To determine this distance, he or she chooses a specific point on the road (tree, storefront, sign, etc.) and waits for the vehicle in front to pass it; once it has done so, the driver counts the number of seconds it takes to reach the same point.
"Ideally, there should be a 3- to 6-second distance between vehicles, and even more if you're towing a trailer," Mr. Lapointe continues. "This way, when driving at a more even and relaxed pace, without having to repeatedly slow down or accelerate, there is a better view of the road and the overall surroundings. With less than three seconds, however, it becomes very difficult to anticipate and react quickly enough."
Towing a trailer
Above all, motorists must know their vehicle's towing capacity; this information can be found in the owner's manual. They should never overestimate this capacity, because a load that is too heavy could damage certain parts of the towing vehicle and pose a serious risk to the safety of other road users. In addition, they should be sure to take into account the extra size and weight of the trailer when driving, be extra cautious when changing lanes, accelerating or making turns, and especially when slowing down, since the load being pulled will greatly affect the vehicle's performance and could significantly increase the distance required to stop in case of an emergency.
Moreover, motorists should also ensure that the trailer is securely attached to the vehicle and check this regularly throughout the trip. Since backing up with a trailer or camper is more difficult, it is best to be prepared in case there is a need to do this. If the driver is unsure whether he or she will be able to reverse safely with a trailer, it is recommended that they practice in a quiet area - ideally far from all traffic - before starting a trip. Certain driver's education programs, including the CAA-Quebec Driving School, offer specialized courses on how to drive with a trailer.
Overweight vehicles - Watch out!
When the trunk of the vehicle is full, a roof-mounted cargo box can come in very handy. Water-proof and aerodynamic, these boxes are very safe when properly attached. However, in the absence of such a box and if luggage is being placed directly on the roof of the vehicle, it should be stacked in a pyramid shape and securely fastened with rope or straps.
"Obviously, no one wants to lose their personal belongings on the road," Mr. Lapointe says. "Even more important, however, such debris on the road surface poses a real danger to drivers, who may inadvertently hit or drive over objects that have fallen off vehicles in front of them. Lastly, baggage or other objects should never be placed in front of a vehicle's rear window, as the driver needs to have a clear and unobstructed view."
Before leaving, tire pressure (including the spare) and fluid levels (motor oil, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid), should be doublechecked. However, having an inspection done every summer at a trusted service centre is strongly recommended. Lastly, CAA-Quebec members are entitled to Emergency Road Service in case of a problem - regardless of where they are in North America - as well as maps and personalized itineraries.
In CAA-Quebec's 2013 summer survey, which was conducted in May, 69% of respondents said they would take holidays this summer. To find out more about this annual survey, please read our recent press release.
CAA-Quebec, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1904, provides automotive, travel, residential and financial services and privileges to its 1,220,000 members
For further information:
Public Relations Officer
514 861-7111, ext. 3210
Cell.: 514 717-4040