Previous month:
April 2019
Next month:
June 2019

4 entries from May 2019

Staying Safe on the Roads This Summer

Isn't the first long weekend of the summer season glorious? Victoria Day kicked it off a couple of weeks ago; now we have St. Jean Baptiste Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday and Labour Day to look forward to. Hopefully lots of fun and good times. However, these long weekends, and the summer driving season in general, bring a special set of conditions that drivers should be aware of en route to good times.

Road in Nova Scotia

For example, as drivers, we're hauling more gear - on top of our cars as well as in trailers we're towing. Last year, on our way to Kelowna, an RV that was a couple of lanes over and a few car lengths ahead, hit a bump and the two bikes that were on the rack on the back bounced off. They went flying onto the highway. Several cars, including us, swerved to avoid them. It was a very scary moment and truly a miracle that we weren't in an accident. MEC has an excellent article on safely transporting a kayak on your roof and the Quebec chapter of the CAA has some good advice for towing a trailer safely.

The loads we're carrying aren't the only concern. Because we're on holiday we tend to be in good moods which actually makes us drive a little more recklessly; we lose our focus and those momentary lapses can cause accidents. We also take more risks such as not wearing a seatbelt: you know the excuses .. "it's a slow rural road" or "I want to be comfortable on my long road trip". In case you need a refresher, the CAA has some reminders about seatbelt basics.

Finally, and this is a problem no matter the season, texting and driving remains a huge issue. The CAA has some sobering facts about texting and driving:

  • Checking a text for 5 seconds means that at 90 km/h, you’ve travelled the length of a football field blindfolded.
  • About 26% of all car crashes involve phone use, including hands-free phone use. (National Safety Council)
  • Estimates indicate drivers using phones look at, but fail to see, up to 50% of the information in their driving environment. (National Safety Council, 2012)

So give those phones to a passenger for safe-keeping or stow them in your glove compartments until you get where you’re going. Stay alert on the roads this summer and get safely to your destinations!

- Rose R.

What's in a Name?

Guys! It is the first Long Weekend of Summer!! WOOHOO! Are you ready? Maybe you’re opening the cottage? Or taking in one of the many festivals held across the country? But before you fire up that BBQ, have you ever thought about what you call this holiday?

Growing up in Edmonton, I call it “Victoria Day” - that's what most of my friends and teachers called it in my youth. But my parents, who grew up in Ontario, call it “May Two-Four”. And then I heard my Calgary cousins call it “May Long”. What??

Luckily, CBC has gotten to the bottom of it. They conducted an online survey and took to social media to solicit region-specific names for the May long weekend. Firecracker Day? May Run? Hiking Day? (Hiking Day? C'mon Nova Scotia, you're taking the fun out of it).

But regardless of what you call it, this weekend is a very busy travel weekend - so stay safe out there! And Happy May Run to you all!

- Rose R.

Moving Energy Across Canada

Recently, I was trying to figure out this weird thing that was happening on my iPhone (embarrassing confession - my Bitmojis were showing up smaller than all my friends Bitmojis and they were mocking me). So, I turned to the Internet - not only a beautiful time waster, but also a source of surprisingly useful knowledge. After a quick search, I found a very helpful explainer video telling me how to fix my Bitmoji problem. I love a good explainer video.

Moving Energy Across Canada

That's why I was so happy when I saw this video from Canadian Geographic Education and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) called "Moving Energy". It is part of the Energy IQ series, a Canadian online energy literacy program that aims to increase knowledge of Canada’s energy mix.

"Moving Energy" presents an overview of how different types of energy (including electricity, natural gas and oil) are moved across Canada and delivered to where we all need it to be. I was particularly struck by the illustration of the electrical grid as well as the pipeline system in Canada. We are a big nation and have to move a lot of energy some very serious distances!

Other explainer videos in the series include "Managing Climate Change and Global Energy Demand" and "Trading Energy – The Canada-US Story". Energy IQ also hosts a quiz about personal energy use that allows you see how you compare with others across Canada and in your home province. As someone who is trying to reduce her personal and household's energy usage, I find that the info on Energy IQ gives me some insight into how I use energy in my daily routine and where I have some opportunities for improvement.

Disclosure: Suncor, proud owner of Petro-Canada, is a member of CAPP.

- Rose R.

Grab Those Helmets: May is Motorcycle Safety Month

Guys - the sun is out, the weather is warm, spring is here and calling my name. Time to start planning picnics, BBQs and camping trips. And time to get out our summer drives. My motorcycling pals are especially keen to hit the open road. I'm not a biker myself, but I have often envied them .. so free and breezy.

And then, to be fair, I sometimes curse them .. especially when I'm coming back from a weekend in the Interior and I'm sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and they WHOOSH by either on the shoulder or between the two lanes of traffic. It's so dangerous, it really concerns me - both for my safety and theirs as well!

According to Transport Canada's National Collision Database, fatalities of motorcyclists has declined since 2015 (latest data available is from 2017), even while the number of registered motorcycles and licensed motorcycles has gone up. So I guess those reckless riders are declining.

I imagine that part of that decline is due to the good work of the folks at the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (MCC). Their mission is to be the voice of motorcycling in Canada and create a better riding experience for all Canadians.

One of their main programs is the annual Motorcycle Safety Month, coming up in May. They have created a wealth of materials for riding clubs and other interested parties to raise awareness of good riding practices. They encourage their members to take the pledge and share it on social media and with their friends and family.  The pledge addresses four audiences: the motorcyclists, the passenger, the motorist and friends/family. Here are the pledges for the motorcyclist and the motorist:

As a Motorcyclist
I pledge to make safety a priority, to ride only when alert and fully prepared for the responsibility of motorcycling. I pledge to ride within my limits, ride sober, obey traffic laws and make arriving alive my greatest priority.

As a Motorist
I pledge to treat motorcyclists with respect by always looking twice, using turn signals, checking my blind spots before switching lanes and eliminating distractions while driving. I pledge to act as if a loved one is riding on each and every motorcycle I see. I promise to drive like their life depends on me, because ultimately, it may.

So important for all of us to take to heart as we move into that summer driving season! Do you ride? What do you love most about it? Share your motorcycling tales in the comments!