No, we’re not there yet

Ah, the joy of long trips in the family car! Here are a few tips that should keep everyone on speaking terms for most of the journey.

Does this scene look all too familiar? If so

Ah, the joy of long summer holiday trips by car, when even the happiest and most well-adjusted families can be reduced to a sullen mass of cramped limbs, unmet bodily needs, and resentment as the miles fly by and everyone wonders who thought this was a good idea. Herewith are a few tips to help you get through the trip (remind yourself that justifiable homicide is a difficult defence to pull off).

Controls: Today’s vehicles offer many options for individual passengers to control their own environment, so if you have a switch available to you  and you alone then feel free to have at it. If, however, the switch (or dial or knob or button) is only available to the driver, ask yourself a simple question: “Am I driving this vehicle?” If the answer is “No,” then do not touch it. Drivers: keep a map handy. Yes, I know you are relying on GPS to get you to your destination, but a sharp smack with a map will dissuade most people from trying to meddle with the controls more than once.

Front seat passenger: You do not have a brake pedal available to you, so do not keep mashing your right foot down as if you are trying to kill a cockroach. Also, do not keep clutching the doorframe and/or gasping audibly, unless a semi-trailer is seconds away from hitting you.

Other passengers: You may think you are being helpful, but if you are not sitting in one of the front seats then the odds are good that you do not yet have a driver’s licence, so any suggestions you might make are not likely to be taken in the friendly and encouraging spirit in which they are undoubtedly offered. An exception would be “Dad, I think that semi-trailer is about to hit us”, although I suspect Dad already knows this.

Bathrooms: One constant of travelling by car is the need for bathrooms at regular intervals, so the Golden Rule still applies: when you find a clean bathroom, use it, even if you don’t think you need it. You will; believe me, you will. Also, having everyone use the bathrooms at the same time will prevent you stopping every 15 minutes.

Keep track of everyone: When I was much younger, and travelling long distances with my family, my parents could be reliably assured that my brother and I were still in the car by the squabbling, pleas for bathroom and/or refreshment stops, and the constant litany of “Are we there yet?” and “How many more miles?” as we tried to entertain ourselves. (True story: my mother once attempted to play records on a battery-operated record player during a car journey from Richmond to Okanagan Falls one summer. The result was . . . unsatisfactory.) Today, with each member of the family probably supplied with earbuds and a personal entertainment device, it can be easy to lose track of everyone due to the silence. A periodic head count (especially after bathroom breaks) will help prevent a potential Home Alone scenario (“I’m pretty sure she was still with us when we stopped in Williams Lake. . . .”).

Arrival: Congratulations! You all made it in one piece (I hope), and are ready—as soon as everyone is speaking to each other again—to enjoy a fun-filled, relaxing vacation designed to allow you to forget the strains and stresses of everyday life. Far be it from me to rain on your parade, but I will just whisper three small words: the drive home.

Happy holidaying!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$10,000 for Gold Rush Trails marketing video and Billie Bouchie Day celebrations

‘We were very impressed by the calibre of both projects’

First Responders hockey match a great night on and off the ice

‘My face was still hurting from smiling and laughing so much’

Ashcroft closer to getting two Level 2 EV charging stations

Town will be part of a network of charging stations in central and northern B.C.

Campaign aims to end the stigma that still surrounds dementia

Ashcroft resident speaks out about taking care of someone with dementia

One man dead after police-involved shooting near Lytton

Two other people in the residence were evacuated safely

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read