Provincial Health Officer’s reminder to drive safely during holiday season for essential travel

IN an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep B.C.’s hospitals, schools and businesses open, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) urges all British Columbians to press pause on non-essential travel this holiday season as everyone does their part to keep the province’s communities safe.

People should avoid all non-essential travel, follow COVID-19 safe travel guidelines if they must travel and stay with their immediate household or core bubble. The PHO reminds British Columbians to stay home if sick and to always use proper hand hygiene. Everyone can still have fun this winter, create new memories and enjoy the outdoors while remembering to be thoughtful and respectful.

People who do have to travel for essential reasons, such as work or a medical appointment, are also reminded to drive safely and use extra caution on B.C. highways and roads this winter. While maintenance crews strive to keep routes as safe as possible, conditions can change quickly at this time of year.

The risk of a crash can be lowered by drivers who plan ahead, check weather forecasts and drive according to weather and road conditions. Winter tire regulations are in effect, and people should ensure their vehicles have tires with the mountain/snowflake or mud and snow (M + S) symbol when travelling on designated routes. For extreme winter conditions, tires with the mountain/snowflake symbol provide the best traction and handling.

Heavy snowfall can increase the risk of avalanches, leading to temporary highway closures while ministry avalanche experts ensure conditions are safe for traffic to proceed. During these times, obey all traffic control personnel.

Tips for driving in winter conditions:

  • Before you leave, for current road conditions, check @DriveBC on Twitter or visit:
  • View some of the highway webcams available at more than 900 locations throughout B.C.
  • If forecasts show unfavourable weather, choose alternative routes or postpone travel.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that does not restrict movement when driving.
  • Bring warm clothing (e.g., winter boots, coats, gloves and hat) and a high-visibility vest in case you need to leave your vehicle.
  • Start your journey with a full tank of fuel, windshield scraper and snow brush, food and water, first-aid kit and other emergency supplies.
  • If you get stuck or stranded, do not panic. Stay with your vehicle for warmth. If you have a cellular phone, call for roadside assistance. If there is an emergency, call 911.