By Blair Qualey
As we enter the final weeks of summer, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of a road trip – and whether it’s for a ‘staycation’ or a weekend getaway, it can be difficult to choose the best spot here in B.C. The picturesque Sea-to-Sky Highway offers a scenic drive to Whistler, which is always beautiful, even without the snow. For people who don’t mind a ferry crossing (unless already on the Island), Tofino offers surfing, hiking, whale watching and spectacular sunsets. A visit to one of the province’s many vineyards is also a real treat.
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When it comes to a vacation, some people might disagree with Emerson, but a little planning is needed for a smooth journey.
It’s best to expect that there will be frustrating, annoying, and stressful moments. Why? Because thousands of other people are probably also headed to ‘your’ vacation spot. There will likely be heavy traffic along popular routes and at various times during the day. Where there’s bumper to bumper traffic, there are usually impatient drivers who do something unsafe like trying to get ahead by zipping through the road shoulder.
DriveBC has plenty of useful, essential and emergency information. The website has road conditions, construction activity, highway webcams, info on the Lions Gate Bridge, ferry delays and links to Environment Canada forecasts for specific highways.
Review your route the night before and in the morning, to check for possible issues, closures or construction slowdowns that could, for example, result in a missed ferry crossing.
Another important thing to watch for: forest fires. Firefighters are battling numerous blazes in B.C. and driving through one can be dangerous. Smoke reduces visibility, clogs up air filters, and ash clings to car windows. Keeping up to date on the latest news will ensure you don’t end up in a fire zone and have time to plan an alternate route.
According to medical experts, showing kindness can reduce the ultimate stress hormone —cortisol. So, let another vehicle pass in front of you. Wave to the driver who let you in their lane to say thanks. Don’t blare the horn at other drivers who aren’t following the rules of the road.
Remember back when you could find a hotel or B&B when you arrived and possibly negotiate a good price because it’s late in the evening? Well, that’s not a good idea these days. Reservations for ferries and accommodations are generally made online and if it says ‘fully booked’ or ‘no vacancy,’ believe it.
After all, as much as the family loves their new car or truck, they probably don’t want to sleep in it all night.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.