Long-Distance Driving Advice and Road Trip Safety (1/3) – Essential Roadside Emergency Knowledge and Equipment

Have you ever wanted to travel somewhere just out of your own curiosity and found out that no one else was really all that interested in going there? For me, that was Thunder Bay. Unfortunately for me, most of my friends were simply uninterested in visiting the rest of our province – at least nothing so far north as Thunder Bay.

According to Google Maps, a direct drive from Toronto to Thunder Bay is nearly 15 hours long. That’s the same amount of time it takes to drive from Toronto to Nova Scotia OR Toronto to Florida!

Yowza. Eventually, I did end up driving up to Thunder Bay, and made a 5-day vacation out of it too! But for today, I wanted to focus more on general long-distance driving advice and road trip safety. Prior to this drive, I was almost always exclusively a passenger during long-distance drives and never really put much thought into what needed to be considered to stay safe on the road.

Today’s post will cover the first of three topics to consider when you’re considering a long-distance road trip:

  1. Essential Roadside Emergency Knowledge and Equipment
  2. Accessories to Help Make Long-Distance Driving More Comfortable and
  3. General Advice for Road Trip Safety

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Contents


Long-Distance Driving Advice (Part 1)

Essential Roadside Emergency Knowledge and Equipment

Okay – this post is mostly for people who, like me, are car newbies/car non-enthusiasts, and don’t know the essentials of taking care of cars and have never been placed in a situation where a car suddenly breaks down on them.

1. Spare Tire, Tire Jack, and Cross Wrench

If you aren’t already hauling one in the back of your car on a regular day-to-day basis, it is time to add one to your car if you’re planning on doing any long-distance driving. Yes fuel efficiency will take a hit because you’re carrying some extra weight in your trunk, but its definitely a price I’d be willing to pay for – especially when traveling long-distances in rural or quieter places. I’d much rather pay for the extra fuel it takes to haul that spare tire back and forth than be stranded in an area with no cell reception and 30+km away from the nearest car repair shop and potentially hours wait for the next friendly car to stop by and give me a hand.

How to change your car tire
How to Change a Tire (plus jacking it up) – thanks YouTube for your infinite and helpful resources!

Honestly, I have zero interest in cars. I don’t know much about them and never really cared to learn how to maintain them (I also don’t own one). But in preparation for this trip, I made sure to at least watch a couple of videos to learn how to change a tire in the case I had to. For people who don’t want to watch a video, here’s a How-To that summarizes everything.

2. Jerry Can

In rural areas, it is possible for gas stations to stop serving customers in the evening. Prior to our drive to Thunder Bay, we were told that some gas stations close after 6:00 PM and don’t reopen until the next morning. If you’re planning on driving a long distance and you know that finding a gas station might be a stretch, its definitely good to fill a jerry can with gas prior to that long stretch and keep it in the car with you. Take an empty jerry can with you on your trip, and before you head into the range of long and empty stretch of road, fill that jerry can up at the gas station.

3. Booster Cables / Jumper Cables

Long-Distance Driving Advice - bring your own jumper cables/ booster cables. Picture is of white minivan parked in empty lot - to illustrate potential of dead car battery on a road trip vacation.
PC: Tobias Tullius from Unsplash

Dead battery woes on a road trip can definitely make a dent on a tight road trip schedule. I mean, even if you don’t have tight timelines, you’re probably not going to be thrilled if your car battery dies. And as my friend told me, I can’t be relying on the good Samaritan to give my car a boost AND have jumper cables. I should be carrying one in the car myself. Booster Cables / Jumper Cables are there to help revive your dead car battery with the help of another car’s battery.

Again – this was something I never had to do, nor had any idea how to do it. Thankfully my road trip friend, yet again came to save the day. She always carries a set in her car and we were already set. Also, yet again, she knew how to do it, but I figured learning how to use booster cables/ jumper cables was essential.


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