“Are we there yet? Now? How about now? How much longer? How much farther? I’m hungry. The iPad’s not working. I really don’t like this vacation. Why didn’t we fly?”
Ahhh, the common refrains of our family road trips. I could go on about my girl’s intense dislike for long car rides, but I’ll spare you my pain and chat about preparing for emergencies on the road instead. Say what? I know, it’s not exactly what springs to mind when someone screams “holiday!”, but planning for potential risks can save a lot of heartache. B.C. is a big province, which means the hazards you can encounter vary greatly by region and season. I can’t cover-off every inevitability, but here are some top-of-mind considerations.
Yucky weather ahead
It only takes a few kilometres to run into trouble. Research what conditions your route may cross and plan ahead. That means being prepared for the season and ensuring it’s reflected in your vehicle’s emergency kit. TranBC and DriveBC have more great advice.
Rocky Mountain traffic jam
Wildlife traffic jams may clear up quickly, but they do raise the question: Are you ready for major delays? Landslides, flooding or multi-vehicle accidents could leave you stranded. Make sure you have a vehicle emergency kit with plenty of water and snacks. Having a few kids' activities stashed on board can also be a life-saver during long waits.
Your smartphone won’t save you, but…
When on the road, mobile devices can be particularly handy for getting the latest and greatest on current conditions. The following social media channels are a solid place to start:
- @EmergencyInfoBC (Emergency Alerts)
- Emergency Info BC (Mobile Alerts)
- @BCGovFireInfo & BC Forest Fire Information (Facebook)
- DriveBC & @DriveBC (Road Conditions & Closures)
That said, depending on how adventurous your holiday is, service may be limited in some areas. So don’t depend on Siri to get you out of a pickle. Nothing replaces solid planning. On that note, consider taking old-fashioned paper maps with you. They're a good back-up if your phone dies or you lose service.
Forests mean fires
B.C. has thousands of hectares of forest and forests can mean fires. Check ahead for area or provincial park closures, as well as evacuation alerts or orders. Emergency Info BC and bcwildfire.ca have what you need. If you’re camping, always check for campfire bans or restrictions. If you happen to spot smoke or flames while on the road call in it at *5555.
If the ground starts shaking
Earthquakes can happen on holiday too. Talk to your family about "Drop, Cover, Hold On" and know what to do if you're in a vehicle. This is also another reminder that a car emergency kit is vital for you and your family. As well, keep in mind earthquakes and tsunamis go hand-in-hand along B.C.'s coast. Learn about the risks and what to do before you hit the road.