Unpredictable weather this long weekend: ICBC asks drivers to prepare for it

NEWS ICBCALTHOUGH we’re experiencing an unusually mild winter this year, weather in our province can still be unpredictable at this time of year. If you’ll be travelling over the Family Day long weekend, ICBC’s asking you to be prepared for varied and rapidly changing road conditions including snow, slush, fog, heavy rain and ice.

On average, 5,700 people are injured and 24 killed in 19,000 crashes every February in B.C.

Here are ICBC’s safe driving tips for this long weekend:

* Pre-trip check: Check your tire pressure and top up your windshield wiper fluid. Remember that you are still required to use winter tires on certain B.C. highways until March 31.

* Know your route: Visit drivebc.ca to check road conditions for your entire route and possible road closures. There may be increased traffic volumes this long weekend so be realistic about your travel time and allow extra time to get to your destination.

* It’s dark out there: Since it gets dark early in the evening right now, avoid setting off on your road trip after a full day of work if you can and, instead, wait until the next morning. If you do travel after work, make sure you get a good sleep the night before and take rest breaks or switch drivers every two hours to help prevent driver fatigue.

* Adjust your driving: Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only. It takes more time and distance to come to a complete stop on wet, icy or snowy roads. Adjust your speed to the conditions and always maintain a safe travelling distance between vehicles.

* Put it down: Make important calls before you get in your vehicle. Use rest stops to take a break, get some fresh air and check your messages. If you know you may find it challenging to ignore your cellphone while driving, turn it off or put it in the trunk of your car so you won’t be tempted.


Regional statistics:

* On average, 4,000 people are injured and 12 killed in 13,000 crashes every February in the Lower Mainland.

* On average, 720 people are injured and four killed in 2,500 crashes every February on Vancouver Island.

* On average, 690 people are injured and seven killed in 2,700 crashes every February in the Southern Interior.

* On average, 270 people are injured and two killed in 1,300 crashes every February in the North Central region.