201 entries categorized "Driving"

Safety Tips for Back To School Season

More folks on the road, more kids on the sidewalk, pumpkin-flavoured drinks on the menu – must be back to school time! As the days get shorter and the traffic gets busier, here’s a refresher on sharing the road and staying safe this time of year.

School Bus

Put down your phone. This applies to both drivers AND pedestrians. That’s right, I’m looking at you, kid who walked right into my dog this morning because he was too distracted by his phone to watch where he was going. Distracted driving due to phone use has become a major problem; and distracted walking has its own set of perils. Put your phone away when you’re driving or walking.

Turn down the tunes. Here’s another tip for both drivers and pedestrians; if you’re listening to music, in your car or on your headphones, keep it at a reasonable level so you can still hear ambient sounds.

Allow extra driving time for your commute. Traffic is generally more congested when school is back in session - even if you don't live near a school, your drive times may be affected. Try to leave a half hour earlier than you usually would, at least for the first few weeks of the fall - then you'll be able to take your time and keep an eye out for darting children without worrying that you'll be late for work.

Respect the speed limits. Obviously, speed limits are lower in school zones, but be vigilant when driving in residential areas as well. While the weather is still good, more kids will be walking, skateboarding or riding their bikes to school. Children on the sidewalk can be difficult to see behind cars parked on the street, so be sure to scan the ground for little feet getting ready to cross the road.

Obey the school bus rules. When the upper red lights are flashing, drivers travelling in either direction must stop until all of the children have exited the bus. Also, if you're behind a school bus, be sure and leave lots of room - they often make sudden stops.

Take it easy on new drivers. In high school areas, newly licensed drivers who've been practising all summer may be experiencing back to school traffic for the first time. Be patient and set a good example for those more inexperienced drivers - after all, you were just like them once.

Back to school time is a good time to educate your kids on pedestrian safety. Check out this article from Parachute Canada for more tips on how best to teach your kids to stay safe on the streets.

Do you notice a change in traffic patterns when school is back in session? What kind of adjustments do you make to your commute? Let us know in the comments. Hope you all have a safe and happy back-to-school season!

- Rose R.

The AJAC’s EcoRun Comes to Alberta

Summer vacation is imminent. Which means the arrival of the annual summer visit from my mother-in-law is also imminent. I’ve been looking for fun places for us to visit. We’ve done trips to Kelowna and Victoria, but it may be time to go further afoot. Time to visit Alberta.

2019 AJAC EcoRun

Coincidentally, it’s also time for the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s annual EcoRun. And this year, it’s headed to Alberta! I was checking out their route and they are visiting some great places:

The AJAC’s annual EcoRun shows off a variety of eco-friendly vehicles, which include pure electrics, plug-in and conventional hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, diesel-fuelled powertrains and highly-efficient gasoline options. They select a different area of the country each year to test out a number of vehicles. Last year they were in New Brunswick. This year’s run through Alberta includes twenty different eco-friendly vehicles; you can check out the full list on their site.

This year’s route through Alberta is 920 KM. In addition to testing out a variety of vehicles, participating journalists will also be competing to win the Green Jersey – awarded to the driver with the best overall eco-driving record on the EcoRun. The journalists also gather real-world driving and fuel economy stats on these eco-friendly vehicles that they then share with consumers through their media outlets. If you’re not familiar with the EcoRun, check out the AJAC’s video after last year’s EcoRun in New Brunswick.

This year, Petro-Canada is proud to be a sponsor of AJAC’s EcoRun and we’re looking forward to greeting the EcoRunners at our Canmore station and chatting about our new EV fast charging stations. Plus, some of our team will be following the run. You can check out our Instagram for some pics from the road.

- Rose R.

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.

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!