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Heading out of town for March break? School may be out, but safety is still in. The Canada Safety Council has some tips to help you and your family get ready for some safe time off.
PREPARE FOR TAKEOFF
If you are planning to fly out of town for March break, make safety your top consideration by checking travel advisories and warnings at www.travel.gc.ca. Adjust your travel plans accordingly.
After selecting a vacation destination, go to your family doctor well ahead of the departure date. Tell your doctor where you are going, and make sure everyone’s shots are up to date.
It is also a good idea to think about what you will be eating and drinking at your destination. Is the tap water safe? Or will you need to look for bottled water? Make a list of your food allergies, and pack medication to treat stomach irritants.
Do your research and know what you can and cannot take on the plane. Good resources are your airline’s website, and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority: www.catsa.gc.ca.
As for travel documents, you should pack your passport, driver’s licence, health card, travel insurance, confirmations of hotel bookings and, of course, your airplane tickets. It is a good idea to photocopy your travel documents and leave a copied set tucked away at home or with a trusted friend in case you need to retrieve lost information.
Tell someone at home where you are going and when you expect to return, and figure out how to contact each other in the event of an emergency. It is always a good idea to have someone you can call if you run into the unexpected!
ON THE ROAD
Buckle up, stay alert, and drive defensively – familiar messages, but they are as important as ever during road trips. Keep your full attention on the road ahead and minimize distractions by putting away your electronic devices while behind the wheel. Plan your route so you know where you are going before you leave home.
But don’t just get in your vehicle and drive away. Check fluid levels, tire pressure and your lights, including signals, before you leave. Do you need an oil change? Think about these sorts of things and check that your emergency kit is stocked with essentials such as water, food, first-aid supplies and booster cables.
Ready to go? While you may be in a hurry to get away, resist the urge to speed and weave in and out of traffic. Driving erratically really won’t get you to your destination much faster, but it does increase your chances of being seriously injured or killed in a collision.
Drive sober – that includes avoiding alcohol and impairing drugs or medication. Make sure you are well rested so that fatigue does not impair your driving abilities. If possible, alternate with another driver so that everyone gets a break and a chance to enjoy the scenery.
While on vacation, enjoy yourself but remember that your personal safety is your responsibility. For example, don’t accept drinks from strangers and avoid going to unfamiliar places alone.
Don’t post photos or status updates on your social media accounts that indicate you are away on vacation. You do not want to draw attention to the fact that your home is unoccupied.
If you live in a house, leave a vehicle in your driveway and arrange for a trusted neighbour or friend to move it around from time to time. Have that person pick up your mail and shovel the snow while you are away.
Also, remove unnecessary items from your wallet. This will help to minimize the likelihood of identity theft, and is easier than replacing lost or stolen ID when you get back.
If you are travelling with a friend, carry one credit card each. This will help you track your purchases and spot credit card fraud faster than if you are using multiple cards. If you are travelling alone, carry no more than two credit cards. Have the phone numbers for your credit card companies handy in case your cards are lost or stolen.
Have a safe and happy March break!