Road-trip season is upon us, which means many families will be loading up their vehicles and heading out on the open road. The family road trip is a favorite Canadian pastime and a great way to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and impressive sights this country has to offer.

Creating a memorable experience for all members of the family comes down to planning. Proper preparation not only makes a road trip more enjoyable, it ensures the safety of all of those taking part. Here are a few simple steps to help you achieve just that:

Plan your route in detail. When it comes to route planning, technology is a great ally. If you family road triphave a specific destination in mind, but aren’t entirely sure of how to get there, do some research online by browsing travel websites to see if there are cities or sights worth stopping for along the way.

Once you have your stops planned, use a GPS device to help you find them. Many vehicles have this technology built in, but you can also use a smartphone. Today’s GPS devices even provide real-time updates on construction and traffic flow, which can help you avoid delays. Just remember that distracted driving laws forbid you from inputting your destination while driving, so enter this information before heading out.

Make sure your car is road-ready. James Hall, an insurance expert with Western Financial Group, says there are several steps involved in making sure your vehicle is ready to take on a long road trip.

“Checking tire pressure and your car’s oil level is the bare minimum,” Hall explains. “It does take some extra time, but taking your car into your local mechanic or dealership before a long trip will help you find any hidden issues that have the potential to ruin your travel plans. Also double-check that your registration and insurance information is up-to-date and that you have it with you in the car.”

Hall also recommends that drivers purchase a roadside assistance program, such as Access Roadside Assistance that covers costs for assistance calls, battery boosts, flat tires, fuel delivery, towing to the nearest service station and any additional costs for hotels and food that may be incurred due to a delay in your travel plans.

Break up the driving. Even a strong supply of snacks, music and movies won’t keep passengers from getting restless after several hours in a car. Breaking up the driving with frequent stops will allow everyone to stretch their legs, expend some pent up energy and ready themselves for the next stretch.

Taking a break is especially important for the driver, says Hall. “Whoever is driving needs to feel fresh and focused,” he says. “Ideally, you’ll be able to switch drivers every couple of hours, but if that’s not possible, take a 20 minute break to help recharge. Driving when tired poses serious risks.”

One of the advantages of traveling by car is being able to set your itinerary and pace. Follow the steps above, and you next road trip will be one to remember.

For more information about road safety and insurance tips, visit www.westernfinancialgroup.ca.

Written by Cleo Neufeld

Cleo Neufeld

Before meeting the love of her life, Cleo was a single mother to a beautiful little girl for many years. She shares her expertise in single parenting, building a relationship, living on a budget and more.