Staying Safe on the Road in Canada – Some Helpful Tips for Road Safety

by Micki
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YMC OnStar disclosure

Every year, we drive thousands of kilometers from central British Columbia to Winnipeg, Manitoba with our two kids in tow. On top of that, we take plenty of road trips through the mountains here in BC, and take the seven hour drive out to Calgary a few times a year.

It all adds up to a lot of time on the road.

Road trip through Saskatchewan

Somewhere off the TransCanada in Saskatchewan

Most of the time it’s smooth sailing, but anyone who’s ever driven across Canada knows the road is full of hazards.

We’ve driven across floods in Saskatchewan, and barely missed rock slides in BC, and had a moose jump out in front of the car in Alberta (luckily, we missed her!).

Plus, there are hazards present anywhere you drive: other vehicles on the road, changing road conditions, and the possibility of a blown tire or vehicle breakdown.

Exploring the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia

Exploring the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia

That all sounds pretty scary (and it can be!), but we stay on top of it by making sure that we’re prepared for the worst.

Staying Safe on the Road in Canada

No matter where we travel in Canada, we make sure that we’re ready for whatever the road throws at us.

Be prepared for delays

A few years ago, we were stuck for a few hours on the TransCanada by Golden, BC, because of a bad accident further up the highway.

I’d love to say this sort of thing hasn’t happened often, but we’ve hit a lot of delays during our time on the road, including (very unexpected!) flooding in Saskatchewan that closed Highway #1 for hours.

Off on another crazy road trip adventure! 22 hours on the road and dozens of highways closed due to flooding in…

Posted by The Barefoot Nomad Travel Site on Thursday, July 3, 2014

Those experiences (and others) have taught us that we need to be prepared for delays at any time.

We travel with enough food and water (for us and the kids) for a day’s delay. Plus, we carry some cash, just in case bank machines are down, and try to keep our electronics charged up in case of long waits.

Most importantly, we try to never travel with an almost empty tank of gas, just in case we’re stuck waiting on the highway for a few hours. At a minimum, we like to keep a quarter tank full at all times.

Ready for anything

Be a safe driver

Now, I’m not a perfect driver, but I try to stay aware at all times, and keep my road skills sharp.

There are some great tips here for safe driving.

Be aware of wildlife

Wildlife is a given on Canadian highways. We’ve seen wildlife ranging from moose (with a near miss one year), porcupine, Black bears, Grizzly bears, deer, Bighorn Sheep, coyotes, wild turkeys, and much more alongside the highway.

We always make sure that we’re alert to wildlife lurking alongside roadsides and in ditches, and we’re especially careful when visibility is limited.

Moose off the highway in Alberta

Moose off the highway in Alberta

Expect the unexpected

Here’s the thing – even with preparing for delays and driving safely, there’s a lot that can go wrong on the road.

Do you know what you’d do if someone in the car had a sudden medical emergency? Or what would happen if you were in an accident where everyone in the car was incapacitated and unable to call for help?

What if a crash sent your cell phone flying somewhere in the car out of reach?

What if you could reach your cell, but what if the battery was dead, or the phone was smashed? What would you do?

Accidents and the unexpected can happen to anyone, anytime.

OnStar gives peace of mind on the road, by being there any time you need it.

What is OnStar? It’s an in-vehicle safety and security technology backed with a real live human Advisors, available only on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.

Driving in the foothills of Alberta

How does OnStar work?

With 20 years of experience, OnStar has both an SOS red button response and automatic crash detection.

Red SOS response

This is the OnStar feature most people know best. When you have an emergency, or even just need help navigating, just push the red SOS button to dispatch an emergency Advisor. Pushing the button could be the life or death difference.

On Star emergency Advisors are medically trained and certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. They have the same level of training as 911 operators.

Advisors then ask questions to determine severity of situation and what type of help you need.

GMC truck

Automatic Crash Detection

Automatic crash detection is managed by sensors all around OnStar equipped cars that detect things like speed, impact, and if the airbags are deployed.

When the sensors are triggered, OnStar sends a collision report to the OnStar Call Centre automatically. When this happens, you don’t need to make a phone call. If the OnStar dispatcher doesn’t hear a response from you, they’ll automatically send emergency services.

What’s cool is that you get get free trial on purchase of a new or used vehicle with OnStar. After the trial’s over you have the option to enroll in a monthly or annual membership Safety and security plan, which includes:

  • auto crash response
  • emergency services
  • crisis assist
  • roadside assistance
  • stolen vehicle assistance
  • turn-by-turn navigation

Click here to learn more about OnStar.

Do you have a story where OnStar helped or safety tips for driving in Canada? Let us know!

helpful tips for road safety in Canada #canada #roadtrip #safety

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1 comment

Samantha Taki August 13, 2018 - 3:01 pm

Great post. We had On Star when we got a new car in 2014 but never have activated it. Probably should in the future when we start doing more road trips. Thanks for the post and the reminder. Safe travels.


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