Crown corporation issues winter warning to drivers

Car crashes in the region see a 138% spike in January

Crown corporation issues winter warning to drivers

Motor & Fleet

By Mark Rosanes

With the number of vehicular accidents in the Southern Interior increasing significantly during the winter season, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is urging drivers to exercise considerable caution.

Police data between 2016 and 2020 obtained by the Crown corporation showed that car crashes resulting from “driving too fast for the [road] conditions” saw a 138% spike in January compared to October. The figure represents the largest increase in the province.

This prompted the ICBC to advise motorists to adjust their driving and ensure that their vehicles are ready for the road conditions.

“In bad weather, slow down, increase your following distance, and allow extra travel time,” the corporation said in a statement. “Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times to help you and your passengers stay safe.”

The insurer also shared five tips on how drivers of all experience levels can stay safe on the road during winter.

  1. Get your vehicle ready. Make sure the tires are rated for the conditions you will be driving and check the tire pressure regularly as it drops in cold weather. Motorists can also visit to check road conditions for their entire route and notices of any possible road closures.
  2. Clear off any snow that’s built up on your vehicle before driving, including the headlights, wheel wells, and external sensors for those who have a collision warning system.
  3. Consider using the headlights and taillights whenever weather is poor and visibility is reduced – not only at night – to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers. Keep in mind that daytime running lights usually do not activate the taillights.
  4. The key to winter driving is to be slow and steady. Avoid unexpected sudden movements that could cause you to skid. That means accelerating gently, steering and turning slowly, and braking early and gradually. Anticipate turns, stops, and lane changes well in advance. Use low beam lights and do not use cruise control on slippery roads.
  5. In bad weather, use extreme caution around snowplows. Maintain a safe following distance and refrain from passing them as it is not safe. These vehicles may be equipped with a wing blade on either of their sides, which may not be visible due to the snow they spray.

Read more: Most Canadians are unprepared for winter driving – survey

“If severe winter conditions arrive, consider your options,” ICBC added. “Wait until road crews have cleared major roads, call a taxi or ride-hailing service if you're not confident driving in the winter conditions, work from home, or take public transit if possible.”

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