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Summer 2016 Travel Tips

June 30, 2016

NITTEC, Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, and Peace Bridge Authority offer travel information and advice to motorists

Today, in anticipation of the upcoming Canada Day and Independence Day holidays and busy summer travel season, the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC), Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, and Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (Peace Bridge Authority) offered a series of travel tips for motorists within the Buffalo Niagara region, as well as those crossing the U.S./Canada border.

“The start of the summer season means more travelers on our roads and bridges, with motorists and tourists visiting friends, family, and destinations across Upstate New York, Southern Ontario, and beyond,” said Athena Hutchins, Executive Director of NITTEC. “There are many simple ways to prepare for a smoother journey, and we encourage Western New York and Niagara Region residents to take the steps necessary to ready their vehicles and themselves.”

“NITTEC and our fellow transportation agency partners wish travelers a safe summer season, and remind them that travel information, advisories, border crossing times, and construction reports are available in real-time at nittec.org, peacebridge.com, and niagarafallsbridges.org,” and our NITTEC mobile application continued Hutchins.

Travel advisories, incidents, alerts, and construction updates:

Travel tips for Western New York and Niagara Region:

  • Consider having your car checked by an automotive technician before a long trip.
  • Check tires regularly for uneven or excessive tread wear. Make sure all items, including the spare, are inflated properly.
  • Check coolant levels and condition, making certain the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present.
  • Check the level and condition of the engine oil. If driving under extreme conditions – such as very hot summer weather or pulling a heavy trailer – you may want to consider switching to oil with higher viscosity.
  • Look for worn, cracked, blistered, or soft belts or hoses. Always perform this check with the engine off.
  • Hot weather can shorten the life of a car’s battery – if there’s concern, have it tested by a qualified automotive technician.
  • Carry an emergency kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, warning devices such as flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, and extra water.
  • Don’t let your gas level get below one-quarter of a tank.
  • Select your route on a map ahead of time and study it to know exactly where you’re going.
  • Reserve all accommodations in advance.
  • Lock your car when you leave it and keep valuables out of sight.
  • Secure children and adults in safety seats, booster seats, or seat belts, as required by law.
  • Bring books, games, or music for the ride, and a pillow so passengers can sleep.
  • Bring information on your destination to make the most of your trip. 

*Tips via AAA website

Travel tips for border crossing:

  • U.S. citizens can present a valid: U.S. Passport; Passport Card; Enhanced Driver’s License; Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST); U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or Form I-872 American Indian Card, or (when available) Enhanced Tribal Card.
  • U.S. and Canadian citizen children under the age of 16 (or under 19, if traveling with a school, religious group, or other youth group) need only present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. The birth certificate can be original, photocopy, or certified copy.
  • The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) does not affect U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents, who are still required to present their permanent resident card (Form I-551) or other valid evidence of permanent residence status.
  • Canadian citizens can present a valid passport, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST).
  • If travelling with children less than 16 years of age who are not part of your immediate family, obtain and carry a parental note of permission regarding cross-border travel. The note should include each child’s parental contact information and telephone numbers.
  • Other than essential luggage or vacation supplies, empty your trunk before the trip. Additional belongings in your car may add time to your crossing, as border officers may perform a visual inspection of the belongings in your car.
  • Turn off radios and cell phones when approaching the inspection booths and speaking with officers.
  • Remember to roll down the driver and rear passenger windows, remove sunglasses, and make eye contact with border officers.
  • Be sure to declare all goods acquired while out of the country including fruits, vegetables, plants and plant products, animals, birds, eggs, meat and meat products, as well as items acquired for personal use.
  • Be patient. Approach inspection booths slowly and follow signage instructions.
  • Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • In addition, for future cross-border travel motorists are encouraged to participate in the NEXUS program. NEXUS allows pre-screened, low-risk travellers to proceed with little or no delay into the United States and Canada. Application forms can be downloaded or you can apply online at the CBSA NEXUS web site or S. CBP NEXUS. Additionally, NEXUS information is available toll-free at 1-866-NEXUS 26 (1-866-639-8726).

*Tips via NFBC and PBA websites

Learn more by visiting nittec.org. 

Summer Travel TipsAbout NITTEC:

Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC) was formed in 1995, as a coalition of agencies designed to improve the safety and efficiency of travel in Buffalo Niagara. NITTEC’s mission is to improve mobility, reliability, and safety on the regional bi-national multimodal transportation network through information sharing and coordinated management of operations.

About the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission:

A Joint Resolution of the 1938 U.S. Congressional Third Session created the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission The Extra Provincial Corporations Act of the Province of Ontario, Canada licenses the NFBC. Canada and the U.S. are equally represented on the NFBC by an eight-member Board of Commissioners. Initially established to finance, construct and operate the Rainbow Bridge, the Commission proved sufficiently efficient and effective to assume responsibilities for the Whirlpool Rapids (Lower) and Lewiston-Queenston Bridges. The NFBC builds and maintains all facilities for Customs and Immigration functions on both sides of the international border. The NFBC is self-supportive, largely through user fees (tolls) and private-sector tenant leases. NFBC is federally chartered to conduct international commercial financial transactions and issue federal (U.S.) tax-exempt bonds.

About the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority:

The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, a binational bridge authority, has owned and operated the Peace Bridge since 1933. The bridge, which was opened to traffic in 1927, spans the Niagara River between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York, and is a key international border crossing.