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Posted: October 3, 2020

Mainroad offers safety tips for winter driving season

In British Columbia, the chances of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle incident (MVI) dramatically increase during winter months. On average, the number of casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions increases by 122% in December compared to September (approximately 220 crashes in December compared to approximately 99 in September).

e-KNOW file photo

The annual Shift into Winter Campaign, which began October 1, aims to reduce this risk by reminding British Columbians to prepare now and plan ahead for winter driving.

As a member of the Winter Driving Safety Alliance that spearheads this campaign, Mainroad encourages you and your families, friends and colleagues to prepare your vehicles and yourselves for the upcoming season. Whether you are facing rain, fog, snow or ice, winter conditions such as colder temperatures, reduced visibility and fewer daylight hours can present serious hazards for all drivers.

Here are a few simple steps to help keep you and your loved ones safe this winter:  

Prepare your vehicle

  • Install a set of four matched winter tires (three-peaked mountain and snowflake) with at least 3.5 mm of tread depth. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Install them now before the poor weather hits as they provide better traction and control in rain, snow, slush and icy conditions.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.
  • Every year, give your vehicle a pre-season maintenance check-up.

Prepare yourself

Know how to drive for the conditions before you get behind the wheel. Even the most experienced drivers can’t predict how their vehicles or other drivers will react in rain, snow or on ice.

Slow down to match road conditions. The posted speed limit is the maximum speed under ideal driving conditions.

  • Maintain a safe following distance. Look ahead and keep at least four seconds of distance between you and the vehicle in front. Leaving extra space allows more time for you to react to other drivers behaviours.
  • Know how to brake safely and get out of a skid. On slick roads, start slowly and accelerate gradually to maintain traction and avoid spinning your wheels.  When stopping, plan well in advance, apply the brakes gently and slowly add pressure.  Avoid braking suddenly.
  • Use extreme caution when approaching highway maintenance equipment including plows, salt and sand trucks.  Never pass on the right.
  • Sign up for the free online webinar – Shift into Winter: Practical BC Winter Driving Tips.

Don’t go

If possible, postpone your plans and avoid driving when road and weather conditions are poor.

Know before you go

If you have to travel:

  • Check weather warnings and road conditions at DriveBC.
  • Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.
  • Select the safest route. Check with the local municipality to see which roads have been prioritized for plowing and salting, and avoid driving on steep hills.
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive.
  • If you get stuck, stay with your vehicle.

For more information on what you can do to stay safe when driving this winter, visit ShiftIntoWinter.ca.

Submitted by Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting Ltd.

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