ICBC Road Safety Coordinator
LONG gone are the sunny, dry days of summer. They’ve been replaced with dark and wet fall weather. Has this drastic change affected the way you drive? It should.
Here in the Lower Mainland we experience a wide variety of fall and winter weather from rain and fog to snow, ice and sleet. The key to staying safe on our roads at this time of year is to adjust your driving and prepare your vehicle for the road conditions you encounter each time you get behind the wheel.
When it’s raining, you need to reduce your speed and increase your following distance to four seconds because it takes much longer to slow down and stop on wet surfaces. Remember, posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only. You should also make sure your windshield wipers are in good condition.
In foggy conditions, it’s important to slow down and scan more carefully because visibility is so limited. Turn on your headlights to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers and road users. Consider using your headlights whenever weather is poor and visibility is reduced and not only at night.
If snow or ice hits this winter, staying off the road can sometimes be a less stressful and safer option. Instead of driving, you may want to consider taking public transit if available, carpooling with a friend who’s a confident driver, taking a taxi or working from home.
If you do venture out in snowy conditions whether close to home or for a trip out of town, make sure your vehicle is properly equipped for the weather. If you are heading out of town, keep in mind you must use winter tires on certain highways until March 31 – particularly mountain passes in the Southern Interior and northern B.C. When it snows or roads are icy, always check the road conditions on drivebc.ca before your head out, give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and accelerate gently to avoid skidding or causing your wheels to spin.
The reality is that speed-related crashes significantly increase from October to December in B.C. That’s why throughout November, police and Speed Watch volunteers across B.C. are looking for drivers travelling at unsafe speeds.
When you drive too fast in poor conditions, it’s harder to react to the unexpected like on a dark, rainy night when a pedestrian suddenly comes into view or the driver in the vehicle ahead of you slams on the brakes. At this time of year, we all need to do our part to help keep everyone on our roads safe.