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July 2013
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September 2013

5 entries from August 2013

Back to School Driving Safety 101

Kids walking to school
Photo: iStockphoto

The days have gotten a little shorter…the air is a little crisp…you have an overwhelming urge to buy a box of Number 2 pencils and a shiny new binder…it must be back-to-school time!

September is one of my favourite times of year but it can also be one of the diciest times on the road. With school back in session, there's a lot more traffic - and a lot of studious youngster walking, riding and getting dropped off at school.

According to a Safe Kids Canada study, the first two months of school are the most dangerous for child pedestrians - so stay safe this back-to-school season with these driving safety refreshers.

More cars on the road = more commute time. Your usual commute may be affected by back-to-school traffic, even if you don't live near an actual school. Holidays are over and the overall volume of traffic will be higher. So be sure to allow extra driving time for your commute so that you won't be tempted to speed to get to work on time.

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Hot Summer, Hot Cars - What To Do If Your Car Overheats

Overheated car on the side of the road
Photo: iStockphoto

You might think having your car overheat is the exclusive realm of the clunker. Not so! Even modern, well-maintained vehicles can overheat in these hot summer temperatures. Driving up a steep hill on a blistering day or being stuck in stop and go traffic in the heat can get that thermostat climbing.

When you see that dashboard temperature indicator begin to rise, start by lessening the load on your engine. Turn off your air conditioning and open up your windows.

If the temperature continues to climb, try turning on the heater and the blower, which will transfer heat from the engine area to the passenger area.

If stop and go traffic is causing the overheat, avoid riding your brakes, which puts more strain on the engine. While it's tempting to inch your way forward and brake with everyone else, it's easier on the engine if you just idle until the gap between you and the car ahead is big enough to make accelerating worthwhile.

If you're already stopped in traffic, try shifting into Neutral and revving the engine a little, which will speed up the water pump and fan to help cool things down.

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How to Avoid Bed Bugs - Road Trip Tips

No Bedbugs
Photo: iStockphoto

Families often return home from their epic road trips with souvenirs, but bed bugs shouldn't be one of them! Bed bugs have been on the rise for the last couple of decades and they're like the ultimate hitchhikers, going from beds to luggage to cars and then home with you.

Bed bugs won't kill you - they'll just bite you, suck your blood and leave you with itchy bumps or a rash. But they are a huge hassle to get rid of once you have them. The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to avoid them in the first place.

Bed bugs love upholstery, which means that your car could provide a comfy place for bed bugs to hang out. If you're ruggedly camping your way through the back country, bed bugs aren't going to be a top concern. But if, like me, you prefer to stay at hotels and motels on your road trips, it's good to take a few minutes after checking in to check out the room for these critters.

Here are a few ways to avoid taking bed bugs with you on this summer's road trip.

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Planning Your Summer Road Trip

August is Road Trip Month over on our Petro-Points Facebook page, so we thought we'd join in here on PumpTalk with a few weeks of road trip inspired posts.

Summer Road Trip Month

My road trip this summer involved driving from Vancouver to Calgary in one day and then driving back two days later. My tip to you - it's an incredibly beautiful drive but if you're doing it all in one day, make sure you know where all the rest stops are!

Some folks have a set trip they take every year - others are always looking for new places to visit. If you're looking for road trip inspiration this summer, here are a few ideas:

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How to Avoid Hitting a Deer - Summer Driving

Deer Crossing
Photo: iStockphoto

Growing up driving between Alberta and B.C., I heard a lot of great "almost hit a deer" stories from my relatives (except from my Aunt Linda, who actually hit a moose, but lived to tell about it). We're driving from Vancouver to Calgary for a family reunion at the end of the week and it occurred to me that now might be a good time for a refresher on how to avoid hitting deer on the highway.

Pay attention to road signs. The deer crossing signs are there for a reason! Be particularly vigilant in these areas and, if you have a passenger, make sure they're on alert as well.

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