People get killed because they undertake horrendously long road trips over strange terrain…

Winter driving in British Columbia (Photo: Ian Harwood)

Many Driveway readers will hit the road soon to visit distant friends and loved ones to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.

But before you fire up the engine, please ponder the following thoughts, because our Driveway crew wants you back home safe and sound at the end of this joyous season!

. . .

You promised your distant family you would get there in time for dinner if it kills you.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens at this time of year: people get killed because they undertake horrendously long road trips over strange terrain.

Resist the urge to tell your family exactly when you expect to arrive. Tell them to go ahead and eat, you’ll get something along the way.

What occurs too often is you end up setting yourself an unrealistic time to get there in your enthusiasm to re-unite with loved ones. You figure out the distance and divide it by the posted speed limit. Forget that; you’ll be lucky if you get near the posted limit in winter conditions.

How do you figure how long it’s going to take to get to Aunt Maud’s this year? Well, recall how long it took last June then add about 15 minutes for every hour… to allow for inclement weather.

In addition, if really bad weather is forecast, you don’t add anything you just postpone the trip for 24 hours or longer.

Also, if your most optimistic travel time estimate tops three hours don’t head out after work but wait until daybreak the next day. It’s not ideal out there at this time of year and you don’t want to travel through unfamiliar territory in darkness.

Once you have set out, stop for a few minutes every hour along the way, walk around the car and draw a few deep breaths. Stop for coffee or take a Thermos if there’s no place to stop along the way.

Share the driving but if you’re alone and get drowsy pull off for a nap or better still check into a motel. Aunt Maud would prefer you to arrive alive tomorrow than have you arrive dead on time tonight.

A list for travellers… don’t leave home without it.

  • Road maps for finding your way if you don’t have satellite navigation.
  • A scraper and a brush to rid your windshield of ice.
  • A shovel to dig the snow from around the tires and a piece of carpet to use as a traction pad.
  • A first aid kit, a flashlight, matches and a candle to help you find where you stowed the first aid kit.
  • Some extra fuses, belts and hoses, tools, road flares and reflectors.
  • A Thermos of hot tea or coffee and some choc bars for energy.
  • Warm clothes within easy reach and blankets in case you get stranded.

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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