198 entries categorized "Driving"

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!

Don’t be shocked! Electric vehicle (EV) chargers are coming to a Petro-Canada near you

There’s a Karma Revero in my neighbourhood. I notice it because the other cars range from student beaters (I live close to the community college), a couple of giant, tricked-out F150s (seriously, do we need to have tires that big?), my vintage Saturn VUE (oh, Saturn, I miss you) and a mini van. The Revero definitely stands out (it’s hot!). I’m considering leaving a copy of this post on its windshield because there is some exciting info that its owner will be keen to hear: Petro-Canada is building a network of fast-charging EV stations across Canada!

Petro-Canada EV Fast Charging Station

Construction is slated to start this spring and when complete, the network will span more than 50 Petro-Canada locations along the Trans-Canada Highway from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.

Petro-Canada stations will offer DC fast chargers with both CHAdeMO and CCS/SAE connectors. The chargers can provide up to a 200 kilowatt charge – enough to provide an 80 per cent charge to most EVs – in less than 30 minutes. As we choose the sites we are making sure our guests will have amenities during their stay. So, you will be able to enjoy an A&W burger (maybe even the beyond meat burger!) and Wi-Fi while waiting. The chargers will support a broad selection of vehicles and are built for future electric vehicle capabilities. 

A test site is currently operational at 235 Steeles Ave. in Milton, ON. Check out this video of its construction and learn more about Petro-Canada’s EV network at petro-canada.ca/ev.

With more than 90,000 electric vehicles on the road in Canada and more than 4,000 EVs added each month, we know that this is an important step in meeting the current and future driving needs of Canadians. We plan to bring you more info about our EV network as progress continues. If you have any questions about our plans or about electric vehicles, leave them in the comments below – we’ll try to answer them in future posts!

Top Ten Gift Ideas for Drivers and Car Enthusiasts

Gifts for Car Lovers

I can’t believe it’s December already - the time of year where I break out in hives, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone. I have a couple of car enthusiasts on my list and, while casting around for some cool gifts for them, I decided to put together a list of my personal top ten gift ideas for people who like to spend a lot of time behind the wheel.

Car gear is always a good choice – these first four gift ideas fall into that category:

1. Spar.saa Inverted Umbrella
OK, maybe this is just because I live in Vancouver where it is always raining, but I think this is a great idea – the inverted umbrella. It lets you get in your car and fold up the umbrella with a minimum of getting wet. I would absolutely appreciate this as a gift! Check out this video.

2. Dash Cam
Whether your gift recipient just wants a record of their driving for insurance purposes or they have aspirations of becoming a YouTube star, a dash cam may fit the bill. This piece from AutoFocus highlights some of the issues when considering using a dash cam. And Best Buy has a post on how to choose a dash cam as well as a feature-by-feature comparison of some models.

3. Car Aromatherapy Diffuser
Road rage affects all of us. So can a stinky dog. If your gift recipient’s car (or mood) needs a little freshening, go one step better than a pine tree deodorizer and get them a car aromatherapy diffuser. Some diffusers plug into the cigarette lighter and others just snap onto your vent. Choose a scent they like – something calming, energizing, spicy or floral. Or, if they want to go old school, there’s always the trusty pine scent. Refreshingly retro!

4. Car Emergency Kit
A few years ago, I gave my immediate family members an earthquake safety kit. It was just a starter one, but it helped them all get on the path to preparing a bigger one for their households. Emergency kits aren’t as sexy as a LEGO Bugatti, but they are useful and potentially life saving.

You can find different types of kits online; some focus more on first aid contents, while others have a more roadside car assistance focus. Look for one that suits the your gift recipient’s daily driving life.

If you’re not comfortable buying something for your car-lover’s beloved ride, you can always choose a gift that will help them show off their love for their car instead. Like:

5. Automotive-Themed Jewelry
Help your gearhead accessorize their look with automotive-themed jewelry! A crankshaft necklace, piston and rod earrings or a pair of wheel rim cufflinks may be just the blingy ticket this holiday season. I'm particularly partial to items made from "fordite" - a simulated gemstone made from built up layers of enamel paint from the paint bays at old car factories in Detroit.

Fordite Pendant by Rhonda [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes your favourite car enthusiast can’t take their summer-only car out for a spin. That’s when you need to get them something they can enjoy at home.

6. Car Video Games
Occasionally it can be fun to race through Prague from the comfort of your own living room. For the virtual car lover who has an Xbox, check out Forza Motorsport 7. It features over 700 cars – something to keep your gift recipient busy during the winter months. If a Playstation is the platform of choice, try Gran Turismo Sport on for size. It features 18 in-game locations and 54 different layouts – from racing circuits to dirt tracks.

7. Car-related Books
Maybe your car lover just enjoys a quiet, armchair drive. Great gift options include: coffee table books about every model imaginable, books about automotive history, or even this beautiful book about the unusual architecture of the gas station.

It's a Gas - Book Cover and Image
Station Image by Tomáš Souček from 'It's a Gas' copyright gestalten 2018

But what if your car enthusiast has everything? What kind of gift do you get them then?

8. Unique Driving Experience
Instead of giving a thing, give an experience. There are so many great options for unique driving experiences. Most performance car brands, like Jaguar or Porsche, offer training or track outings – perfect for someone who is loyal to a particular make or model. If your car lover likes to “play the field” as it were, there are several companies that will arrange tours along scenic routes and let drivers change between multiple exotic supercars. Finally, if the car doesn’t matter as much as the environment, perhaps ice circuit training on a frozen skid pond would make the perfect gift.

These are all great, right? But what if it is Christmas Eve and you are on the way to your in-laws and you forgot to get Cousin Joe a present? We’ve got you covered with two perfect last minute gifts. Spoiler alert – you can get both of these last minute gifts at our stations.

9. A Wash & Go Card
I actually received one of these last year in the office Secret Santa exchange. I was surprised at how excited I was to get it (even more than the box of Quality Street). I don’t actually wash my car all that often. I find it a bit of a hassle to go in to the station, buy a ticket, get back in my car and then type a code at the entrance! But with the Petro-Canada Wash & Go Card – you just tap it at the entrance and get sudsy. Plus, when I reload online, I get a bonus wash (2 bonus washes if I reload before January 7, 2019). Nice!

Petro-Canada Gift Card

10. A Petro-Canada Gift Card
First of all, who doesn’t love getting a gift card? I ask for an iTunes gift card every year for my birthday. Every year. It’s the perfect gift. So, for the car lover on your list, a Petro-Canada Gift Card is a great option! They can get a fuel-up or some snacks or a lottery ticket – so many options!

And there we have it! 10 great gift ideas for the car lover on your list! Did we miss one of your great gift ideas? If so, share it in the comments!

- Rose R.

Staying Safe When Daylight Saving Time Ends - Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians

Sleepy driver

When I was younger, I loved the end of Daylight Saving Time. I really relished that extra cozy hour in bed. 7AM band practice had just started and that is tough to get used to as a teen. Especially that year our band director told us we'd be starting at 6AM. "You'll already used to getting up then," he said. C'mon Mr. Johnson!

As an adult, I do still enjoy that extra cozy hour of sleep, but I'm also aware of the safety issues that arise around the bi-annual time change for most of the country. As safe drivers, it's important to be extra aware of our surroundings and others we share the road with for the next few weeks as we get used to the time change. Here are a few tips to help get you ready:

  • Go to bed when you normally would so you can take advantage of that extra hour of sleep. Don't stay up late thinking that the time change will make up for it.

  • Eat a good breakfast; it helps your body understand that it's the start of the day.

  • Spend some time in well-lit rooms or outside. Your body reacts to light and this will help your internal clock adjust.

  • Studies say that driver heart attacks go up when we "spring ahead", but when we "fall back", traffic accidents and pedestrian deaths increase, largely due to decreased light levels. Drivers, slow down and exercise more caution at pedestrian crossings and intersections. This is doubly true for school zones. And pedestrians, if you're not wearing reflective armbands or strips, this is a good time to start! Help drivers see you! Cyclists, this all applies to you too!

  • If you find yourself getting drowsy on the commute, pull over and take a few minutes to refresh yourself! There's no substitute for getting a good night's sleep, but being mindful of your tiredness level will keep you and fellow drivers safe.

  • Stay alert for other drivers who may be experiencing the ill effects of the time change. Watch for weaving between lanes or sudden stops.

So this weekend, enjoy that extra hour. But please stay safe and be extra alert on the roads!

Do you have any other tips for dealing with the time change? We'd love to hear them in the comments!

- Rose R.

Staying safe and spooky: Halloween tips for drivers, parents and homeowners

Halloween trick or treaters

I've had some epic Halloween costumes over the years: Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Princess Leia and a druid. I loved dressing up as a kid … with all the elaborate robes and make-up. These days, I'm more likely to stay home and hand out candy to neighbourhood kids. It's great how many kids still go out and "trick or treat".

With the sun going down earlier and lots of little ones on the streets at Halloween, we thought it would be worth reminding kids, parents, homeowners and drivers of some important safety tips!

Choosing your costume
Kids, Halloween is a great time to exercise your creativity! And if you want to go as Long Jane Tyranoella (a dinosaur pirate princess), you absolutely should! But just a few things to keep in mind as you put your costume together:

  • Light-coloured costumes are easier to see in the dark. If you must go as a bat, put a few stripes of reflective tape on to make sure you're seen by drivers.
  • Make sure your costume fits well. You don't want to trip over it while you're out with your friends. And if you buy a costume, make sure it's made of flame-retardant materials.
  • Make-up is better than a mask - you'll be original and not risk your vision being restricted.

Staying safe on the street
Parents, make sure you talk with your kids about staying safe on Halloween:

  • Discuss the route your kids want to take. Make sure they are able to stay on the sidewalk and not have to walk in the street. Remind them to cross the street only at crosswalks or corners.
  • Identify Block Parents or other spots along the route (fire or police stations) where they could get help if they need it.
  • Going in groups is good! Try to coordinate a group of at least four to five kids. Young children should be accompanied by a trusted adult (you, another parent or known babysitter).
  • Remind them that they should only go to houses that have the porch light on. And that they should never go inside the house.
  • Agree to a timeframe with your kids. Make sure they understand the importance of returning home or checking in within that timeframe. And make sure a watch is part of someone's costume. And a flashlight.
  • Ensure your kids eat dinner before going trick-or-treating to ensure they have the energy to make it through lots of houses (more houses = more candy!)
  • Let your kids know that they should bring home their treats to be checked first before they eat them. You can tell them that stopping to eat treats along the way is not only a safety issue, but it also reduces the amount of candy they can get by eating into valuable candy collecting time.

Create a safe trick or treating experience
Homeowners, if you're handing out treats to little ghosts and ghouls, take a minute to ensure that your property is safe for trick-or-treaters:

  • Make sure your home and walkways are well lit. Avoid using real candles in your pumpkins; battery-powered tea lights are a safer option.
  • Clear your walkways of snow, ice and other tripping obstacles.
  • Keep your pets indoors and away from visiting trick-or-treaters. Halloween can be a particularly scary time for them.
  • Consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project and offering non-food treats.

Safe driving on Halloween
Drivers, the promise of candy and the excitement of being out with their friends can make anyone forget their usual safety precautions. It's up to you to be on alert:

  • Extra vigilance is essential on Halloween! Little witches and warlocks can dart from between parked cars, across the middle of the street or out of driveways. Be aware!
  • Drive below the speed limit, especially in residential neighbourhoods. 
  • Make sure your head and taillights are in working order and turn them on early. 
  • Eliminate distractions in the car, especially cell phones!

All of us at PumpTalk wish you a safe and spooky Halloween! Now, off to make my Tyranoella costume! What are you dressing up as this Halloween? Let us know in the comments!

- Rose R.