Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ICBC Winter Driving Tips

It Never Snows In Nanaimo!

Well, OK maybe it did snow a little bit last year as this picture reminds. On the off chance that old man winter pays another snowy visit this year the following is winter driving advice from the good people at ICBC.

Few places experience as varied winter conditions as B.C. Heavy rain, sleet, fog and snow are just some of the challenging conditions you could encounter while driving across the province.

In 2008, the number of crashes on B.C.'s roads jumped from 23,000 in November to 32,000 in December as record-breaking snowfall hit much of the province. ICBC is therefore reminding all motorists to drive smart and remember that others are sharing the same roads this winter.

ICBC's top driving tips this winter are:

YOUR CAR

  • Get ready: Prepare your vehicle for winter. Invest in good wipers, top up fluids to avoid freezing, and frequently check your tire pressure — tires deflate in cold weather. If you are going on a long drive, pack a safety kit in your vehicle, including a first aid kit, shovel, blanket, water, energy bars, candle and matches.
  • Get rolling: Make sure your tires are suitable for the road conditions you're driving in. In the Lower Mainland, badly worn or bald tires will not provide enough traction for some of the heavy rainfall. In parts of B.C. that experience substantial snowfall — such as the North or Southern Interior — install a full set of official winter tires (look for snow tires with a pictograph of a snowflake inside a peaked mountain). It's always a good idea to get your tires looked at by an expert, but to quickly check their condition, put a toonie between the tread on your tire. If the tread doesn't reach the gold centre of the toonie, it's time to think about getting new tires.

YOUR ROUTE

  • Make a plan: Because road conditions can vary so much across B.C., it's always a smart idea to let a family member or friend know the route you'll be driving so they can know where you are in the event of a delay or if your vehicle is stranded. Delays are much more common during the winter months, so always give yourself extra time in case of bad weather. Check drivebc.ca for road and weather conditions before setting out.
  • Look out: As the rain, snow, sleet and fog set in across B.C., visibility on our roads gets much-reduced — especially given the darker morning and evening commutes. To ensure a safe drive this winter use extra caution around intersections in particular, where 40 percent of all police-attended crashes occur in our province.

YOURSELF

  • Don't rush: The number one driving tip at this time of year is to slow down and keep your distance. Reduce your speed, especially on wet roads, in bad weather conditions or near intersections. Consider driving below the posted speed limit and leave enough space between your car and the one in front of you — at least three seconds following distance. Slowing down also allows you to see more of the road ahead and what is happening at intersections.
  • Think ahead: Bad weather brings new elements on to our roads, such as highway maintenance vehicles and equipment including plows, salt and sand trucks. Think ahead and use caution when approaching these vehicles and never pass on the right.

If you are unfortunately involved in a crash this winter, remember that ICBC is dedicated to providing a hassle-free claims experience. Claims can be reported to ICBC's Dial-A-Claim centre 24 hours a day, 365 days per year:

Lower Mainland: 604-520-8222
Elsewhere in B.C.: 1-800-910-4222
Outside B.C.: 1-800-910-4222


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