Thursday, November 25, 2010

Top Five Winter Driving Tips From ICBC

With below-freezing temperatures across B.C. set to turn into substantial snowfall by tomorrow, and then perhaps rain and black ice on the roads by the weekend, ICBC has these following tips to help you stay safe on the roads:
  • Equip your vehicle: We issued an information bulletin earlier this week to answer customers' questions about winter tires and insurance, but preparing your vehicle for winter driving comes down to much more than just choice of tires. Don't use cruise control on slippery roads; check your tire pressure as they can deflate quickly in the cold; low-beam lights are more effective in the snow; and keep your gas tank full to prevent freezing in extreme temperatures. Keep a blanket in your car just in case you are unfortunate enough to get stranded in these wintery conditions. You can find more tips on icbc.com.
  • Adapt our behaviour: While preparing our vehicles for winter driving is vital, nothing is more important than adjusting our behaviour as drivers. When we see a speed limit — say, 90km on a highway — that's the limit in ideal road conditions. Conditions right now are not ideal so slow down and leave more space between you and other vehicles on the road to give you the time and distance needed to best avoid any potential hazards.
  • When things get slippery: One of the most challenging road hazards at this time of year is black ice — it's virtually impossible to see ahead of time, and that's why it's so important to slow down and try and anticipate what's ahead by seeing how the vehicles around you are moving on the road. While it can be a natural reaction to slam on the brakes, the best thing you can do is try and slow your vehicle down to regain traction — ease off the accelerator and shift to a lower gear if possible. If you need to use the brake, be aware of the differences between using standard and ABS brake.
  • Know your journey: One of the most challenging aspects of driving in B.C. is that road conditions can vary greatly depending on where you are in the province. If you're setting out from the Lower Mainland and driving to the Southern Interior, for example, you need to know that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure can designate winter tires to be required on certain roads and highways. If you are driving on these roads without winter tires, police can ticket you and make you turn back. Drivebc.caexternal link is a great resource to consult ahead of time.
  • If the worst happens: If you are unfortunate enough to be in a crash we know it can be a frightening and stressful situation, but we're dedicated in providing a hassle-free experience and we're available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to assist our customers. Customers in the Lower Mainland can reach us on our Dial-a-Claim line by calling 604-520-8222. Those who are elsewhere in, or outside of, B.C. can dial 1-800-910-4222. Download ICBC's Claims Card to help you record the information you need at the scene of a crash.

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