DAWSON CREEK, British Columbia (KTUU) - Maybe you’ve seen the bumper stickers proudly proclaiming, "I drove the Alaska Highway and survived." The road has an infamous reputation, but the truth is, driving conditions in the summer have vastly improved over the past 75 years, since the road was constructed.
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Today, the entire highway is paved. While this makes the drive much less treacherous, it still does come with a less dangerous set of problems.
"There will probably be construction," said Sydney Davies, visitor information counselor with the Dawson Creek Visitor Center.
Pilot cars and traffic cones spot the highway.
"In Canada, we have three seasons," explained Beki Jackson, who works for Minute Muffler in Dawson Creek. "Winter, mosquito season and road construction."
There are also frost heaves – major bumps in the road that can send your car flying and your head into the roof.
But the main hazard that Davies warns visitors about is missing the journey.
"It's a long road, and people either go up very, very quickly, or they take their time," she said. "Take your time, look around, and do everything you want to do."
However, that doesn’t mean go unprepared. Here are some tips from Jackson, who has worked on cars at mile 0 for more than a decade:
- Make a list: Know where you’re going, know what you’re going to see, and be ready for it.
- Bring backups: Your windshield will end up caked with dirt and dead bugs. Bring some extra wiper fluid, and maybe some coolant and oil.
- Pre-check your vehicle: You don’t want to travel over frost heaves with bad suspension.
- Check your tires: You really don’t want a flat in the middle of nowhere. Check your tires for wear, tear and tread separation.
- Check your spare tire: You probably never look at it. Give it a look, and make sure it’s in good condition and you know how to use it.