Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //


The new normal feels pretty abnormal. Streets are empty, parks are off-limits, and supermarkets have become stress centres. After two months, cabin fever is setting in, and your car beckons from the garage. But not so fast.

Quite literally, not so fast. There's been a spate of speeding on our roads, with some jaw-dropping tickets handed out. Those empty roads are proving too tempting for some, and it's giving all recreational driving a bad name. It needn't be like this.

On paper, a car is pretty much the ideal escape vehicle. It lets you travel around but still maintain a proper distance from everyone. It can be a cocoon of comfort away from a stifling apartment or a meditative chamber while you cruise slowly along a sunny day. It can even be a way to reconnect with your friends. You just have to be smart about it.

Story continues below advertisement

Here's how, as some restrictions relax across the country, we can reclaim driving as a safe activity. Things might not be normal for a while yet, but you can still get your wheels turning.

Brendan McAleer drives through the Rockies in a ’67 MGB. Lengthy road trips will be few this summer as public health officials advise against travel to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Brendan McAleer/The Globe and Mail

Slow your roll

Never before has a supercar looked less appealing. Yes, city streets have a lot less traffic than usual, but that doesn’t mean drivers should be any less responsible. As sunny summer afternoons beckon, what you really crave is some huge American land yacht of a convertible, as long as an aircraft carrier and about as leisurely.

But what you drive isn't as important as how you drive it. Rolling around your neighbourhood, either solo or in a convoy, is best done at a respectful pace. When you're no longer trying to beat traffic on the daily commute, you might feel your heartbeat even out.

Aimless drives are the ideal time to practise being a more responsible road user. Take your time. Watch for bikes and pedestrians. Let people cut in front. You probably do all this anyway, but why not get even more Canadian about it?

Stay local

Now's the time to explore the overlooked roads of your neighbourhood or town.

Brendan mcaleer

That early-summer road trip is probably off the table. Health officials are cautious about people travelling between communities, so it’s unfortunately not the time to go for a long drive out to your favourite lunch spot. Unless, of course, they have a takeout option.

Better to keep it close, although that doesn’t mean you can’t go exploring from the comfort of your driver’s seat. Odds are there’s plenty of familiar old roads to drive in your neighbourhood, and you can always cruise past a friend’s house and wave hello from curbside.

Be prepared

Even if you are keeping it slow and close, there’s never been a more important time to be self-reliant. Anything that you’d consider carrying with you on a longer-distance road trip should probably be in the car with you now. That means jumper cables, essential fluids and a tool kit with no missing parts.

Story continues below advertisement

Make sure your tire pressures are correct, and don’t forget to check the spare. Keep all fluid levels topped off and make sure your maintenance requirements are up to date.

And don't forget that going for a periodic drive isn't just good for you, it's good for your car. Long periods of sitting can be bad for tires and batteries, and your car not might be ready to go if you actually need it. Putting a few kilometres on the clock is good maintenance.

Avoid multitasking

When life was normal, modern driving meant wrestling with the tendency to check your phone at stoplights. Distracted driving was a constant problem.

In times like these, it's more important than ever to focus exclusively on driving. Shut your phone off. Lock it in the glovebox. Let whatever is currently stressing you out take a back seat or, better yet, ask it to get out of the car.

Driving can be way to unwind, but it works best when you’re concentrating on the task at hand. Not only will you get a break from worrying about the latest scary headline to pop up on your social-media feeds, but you’ll be safer on the roads. Then, once life slowly begins to return to normal, keep that phone locked in the glovebox. It’s just good practice.

Socializing the distance

Rolling in a convoy with friends is a great way to recapture some lost camaraderie.

Brendan McAleer /The Globe and Mail

Parking-lot get-togethers and cruises are a highlight of any summer season if you’re a car enthusiast. However, most official events have been postponed or outright cancelled. Getting together and shaking hands while you chat about your current project car is going to have to wait until next year.

Story continues below advertisement

But that doesn’t mean you can’t hold a get-together on wheels. In fact, rolling around with a group of friends in some fun old cars is a great way to recapture a little camaraderie after so many days spent at home and feels better than any virtual meetup.

Again, be smart about it. You’re going to want to keep the group small enough to get through a traffic light together. Make sure to put the slowest car up front, to keep everyone at a reasonable pace. Only invite responsible drivers that you know will stick to the script.

And wave at people. You might have to keep your distance these days, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop being friendly. Everyone else is probably feeling a bit weird about the new normal, too, so don’t forget to brighten a day or two. “We’re all in this together” doesn’t just have to be a slogan.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

Stay on top of all our Drive stories. We have a Drive newsletter covering car reviews, innovative new cars and the ups and downs of everyday driving. Sign up for the weekly Drive newsletter, delivered to your inbox for free. Follow us on Instagram, @globedrive.

Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies