Previous month:
September 2021
Next month:
November 2021

5 entries from October 2021

From Halloween to Daylight Saving Time - Fall Driving Safety Tips

Two of my favourite times of year are upon us – Halloween this Sunday followed by the end of Daylight Saving Time next Sunday. While adorable ghouls and goblins and an extra hour of sleep are both delightful, these events also bring with them some safety challenges for drivers, so I thought now would be a great time for a general refresher on safe driving in the fall.

Fall Driving Safety Tips

Keep your car clean

As the days get darker and rainier, seeing and being seen on the road is important. Keep your windshield, windows, headlights and taillights clean and, if you’re like me and park on a street full of majestic maples, make sure your car is clear of leafy debris. Fall leaves can be a visual hazard and, left on too long, can damage the finish on your car.

Eliminate distractions in the car

Despite hefty fines in some areas for distracted driving, I still see folks gently drifting into other lanes while they’re on their phones. Put the phone away and focus on the road.

Slow down, especially in residential neighbourhoods

This is particularly relevant for Halloween, where you may find little witches and warlocks darting out from between parked cars or crossing in the middle of the street. Plus, with twilight coming earlier after next weekend, it may be harder to see cyclists or your dog-walking neighbour. It's up to you to be on alert!

Don’t drive tired

This applies to every time you drive but with the end of Daylight Saving Time, your circadian rhythms will be disrupted, leading to slower reflexes and poorer decision-making ability.

Try to go to bed at your usual time next weekend (instead of staying up for that extra “free” hour) and remember that it can take up to two weeks for your body to adjust to the time change.

 Leave extra time to get where you’re going

Being in a rush rarely leads to great driving choices. As the days get shorter, routes you’re used to driving in daylight may get more challenging. Be sure to:

  • leave extra time to clean your car if necessary;
  • take a moment to get into mental “driving mode” before your drive; and
  • try to stay chill on the road.

A final tip: as autumn comes to a close, check out our checklist for preparing your vehicle for Canadian winter.

How do you adjust your driving routine when the days start to shorten? Let us know in the comments!

~Rose R.

Join Us in Committing to 19 Hours of Care – Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation

This is a special edition of PumpTalk – brought to you by the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation. Today’s post is written by Ulrike Thomas, Senior Advisor Petro-Canada Community Involvement.

Every week more than 8 million Canadians spend an average of 19 unpaid hours as a family caregiver – someone who cares for a family member, close friend or neighbour on top of their regular commitments.

With this in mind, the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation is launching an opportunity for you to get involved not only in supporting family caregivers but in learning first-hand what it’s like to provide 19 hours of care.

From October 19 – November 19, we’re holding the first annual Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation 19-Hour Care Commitment and invite you to join us in raising awareness and funds for family caregivers across Canada.

sign up for the 19 Hour Care Commitment

You can work alone or as part of a team to provide 19 hours of support directly to a family caregiver while collecting pledges from your networks. Some ideas for supporting family caregivers:

  • Call them to check in and see how they are doing. The power of knowing someone is thinking of you cannot be underestimated.
  • Meet them for coffee so that they get some time away.
  • Spend an hour researching local services for a caregiver’s loved one.
  • Offer to pick up their groceries.
  • Take their dog for a walk or mow their lawn.
  • Cook a double batch of dinner or bake an extra dozen cookies and drop it off.

Don’t know a family caregiver directly? You can support the cause by making a donation on our event page.

Once you sign up for the 19 Hour Care Commitment, you’ll gain access to a virtual toolkit that includes even more details about family caregivers, pre-written communications and fundraising resources. We encourage you to share your journey on social media using the hashtag #19HoursOfCare. You can follow us on our social channels and watch for details on special contests and prizes:

All monies raised through this campaign go directly to providing support and resources to family caregivers. The Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation provides grants to charitable organizations across the country that support this important group.

One of my favourite quotes about family caregivers comes from Rosalyn Carter…

"There are only four kinds of people in the world - those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers."

I hope you join us in our 19 Hour Care Commitment to raise awareness and funds for this important cause.

Frew Energy Shares the Abundance and Gets Farmers Much Needed Hay

I’m quite lucky in my choice of profession – writing is a job I can do almost anywhere and it certainly isn’t weather dependent. This summer, when a “heat dome” covered Vancouver in record-high temps for a week or so, I did wonder if I could take my laptop into a walk-in-cooler and still get some work done. But my week of trying to stay cool is nothing compared to what Canada’s farmers are going through. It’s been a tough year for many farmers across Canada. Not only did they contend with record-breaking heat waves but summer droughts and extreme wildfires have left a number of farmers continuing to struggle with feed shortages for their livestock.

Most of us aren’t in a position to directly help farmers - though buying local produce and meat is a good start! However, Mark Frew, President of Frew Energy (a long-time partner of Petro-Canada) found himself in such a position earlier this year. He heard that one of his customers, Titan Trailers – an Ontario company that manufacturers high-end 53’ rolling floor trailers – offered to transport donated hay to beleaguered farmers when they shipped their trailers out West.

A truck from Frew Farms with a Titan Trailer attached
A truck from Frew Farms with a Titan Trailer attached

The folks at Titan had their shipments taken care of, but they identified a need in Rainy River, Ontario – a town located on the Ontario/Minnesota border, just 250 KM from Winnipeg. None of Titan’s trailers were schedule to stop in that area but, after facing the impacts of wildfires and drought, the farmers in Rainy River needed hay. Upon hearing that, Mark rolled into action.

I was able to catch up with Mark and talk with him about what happened next.

PT: So, you heard about the need in Rainy River?

Mark: Yes. And I knew it was just a matter of pulling together the right team to get their farmers some help. Jerry, the manager of Frew Farms, secured a donation of a full load of hay. Frew Farms supplied the truck. Titan was able to loan us a trailer. And Frew Energy supplied the fuel for the trip.

Loading up the hay for the trip to Rainy River
Loading up the hay for the trip to Rainy River

PT: Sounds like a real family affair.

Mark: It definitely was. Plus, everyone on the farm has their license to drive a truck – so my brother Jack and my nephew Aiden actually drove the load of hay up to Rainy River.

Mark’s nephew, Aiden
Mark’s nephew, Aiden

PT: Why Rainy River?

Mark: Mike Kloepfer over at Titan identified that area for us. We’ve been really fortunate in our part of Ontario with the weather this year. It’s the opposite over in Rainy River. Lots of droughts and fires. It was an opportune time – to share our region’s abundance with those who didn’t have it this year.

PT: What inspired you to take action?

Mark: I grew up on a family farm with my three siblings. When you’re born and raised on a farm, there is always a part of you that is looking out for other farmers. Farming is in your blood. You never forget the values you learn on the farm.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Mark! And kudos to you and the extended team at Frew Energy for supporting farmers and sharing the abundance in a year when not everyone was as fortunate – a great example of what it means to #LiveByTheLeaf.

~Kate T.

Safety Advice for Teen Drivers

A long time ago, when it was time to take my driver’s test, my friend Carmen was kind enough to lend me her car as well as get up early on a Saturday and drive me to the DMV. That’s friendship! As we were about to pull out of her driveway, Carmen’s dad sauntered out of the garage and up to the car. He leaned down, poked his head through the window and said, “I’m going to tell you what I told Carmen when she got her license.” He paused for dramatic effect and then slowly said, “Never drive angry.” Then he stood up, patted the hood of the car and strolled away.

Driving Exam

At 18, I don’t think I fully understood that advice. But I have thought about it regularly over the years and it has certainly stood me in good stead. With next week, October 17 – 23, being National Teen Driver Safety week – sponsored by Parachute, a national Canadian charity dedicated to creating a safer Canada – I wondered what other sage advice friends and colleagues had received as they started their driving careers. So I asked around and received a few stories to share.

~ | ~

From Bryan R., Unit Leader at Suncor…
“Something I took away from Drivers Ed in Fort McMurray in 1998: in the winter, do 80% of your braking before you need to come to a stop. Slippery conditions can leave you with less room to stop than you normally need.”

~ | ~

From Kiret B., Project Lead at Suncor…
“I grew up in Vancouver and learned how to drive from a family friend who owned a driving school. The greatest tip he ever gave me is that you cannot control what is happening in front of you but you can have an influence on what is happening behind you.

Kiret at 19 years old
Kiret at 19 years old, standing behind the second car

The way to do that is by watching your following distance: if someone is following you too closely, keep an extra bit of room from the car in front of you. Then in case of an emergency stop, you have enough distance to stop safely plus there is an extra margin for the person behind you to hopefully stop without hitting your car.”

~ | ~

From Elizabeth B., Director, Transformation Office at Suncor…
“My Grandpa used to say - signal before you brake.”

~ | ~

From Paul D., Community Manager at LintBucket Media…
“I remember one time, learning to drive on a rural road with my Dad. We were going the speed limit, but even so it wasn’t long before an impatient pick-up was riding our tail. It was on us for a while, trying to bully me into going faster, before it finally peeled out to overtake us - the driver gesticulating rudely and swearing at me through the open window. I had so many impulses: I wanted to gesture back, shout, lay on the horn, accelerate and tail him for a while, maybe pass him and shout some choice words of my own - see how he liked it!

My dad must have sensed what I was thinking. ‘Just breathe. There are jerks everywhere. Don’t let it get to you, and never retaliate. You are responsible for your own safety, and the safety of your passengers first.’ Now I live in Ontario and drive the 401 on a regular basis. That advice comes in handy!”

~ | ~

Many thanks to everyone who shared their stories with me! Did you receive some key advice as a teen driver that has stayed with you? Share it in the comments!

~ Kate T.

Being Thankful for Members of Our Community

In Canada, early October can be a time of reflection and gratitude. One of my favourite rituals at this time of year is sitting around a big table of family and friends, and reminiscing - and in particular, noting what we are each thankful for.

Giving thanks...

Looking back over 2021, something that stands out for me are the stories that members of the Petro-Canada and Suncor community shared with us and allowed us to share with PumpTalk readers. I am grateful for the generosity of these folks and proud to be a member of this community. Here are some of my favourites:

Many, many thanks to this inspiring group of people for sharing their stories and for making the world a better place.

~Kate T.