According to ICBC, vehicle casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions increase by a staggering 87 per cent across B.C. in December compared to October — casualty crashes are crashes where at least one person was injured or killed.
As drivers approach winter, parts of the province are already starting to see snowfall while other areas are experiencing heavy rain. ICBC is urging drivers to do their part to prevent crashes by preparing their vehicle for winter weather and adjusting their driving when challenging conditions arrive.
In bad weather, they suggest drivers slow down, increase their following distance and allow extra travel time, especially since Environment Canada is calling for a cold weather system to move into the region Monday. According to Matt MacDonald, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, Vancouver could see some flurries as a result and the mountains could see five to 10 centimetres of snowfall.
Drive smart tips:
- Ice and snow can hit unexpectedly so make sure your tires are rated for the conditions you're driving in. Check your tire pressure regularly — pressure drops in cold weather and overinflated tires can reduce gripping.
- Clear off any snow that's built up on your vehicle before driving, including headlights, wheel wells and external sensors if you have a collision warning system.
- Use your headlights and taillights whenever weather is poor and visibility is reduced — not only at night — to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers. Keep in mind that daytime running lights usually don't activate your taillights.
- When severe winter weather hits, consider alternatives — take public transit if possible, carpool with a confident driver whose vehicle is equipped for the conditions, call a taxi or ride-hailing service, work from home or at least wait until road crews have cleared major roads. Sometimes the best option is to leave the car at home.
- Be aware of black ice when temperatures near freezing. If you notice ice build-up on your windshield, there's likely black ice on the road. Black ice is commonly found in shaded areas, bridges, overpasses and intersections. Slow down and increase your following distance.
- In poor weather, use extreme caution around snow plows. Maintain a safe following distance and don't pass them – it's not safe. These vehicles may be equipped with a wing blade on either of its sides, which may not be visible due to the snow it sprays.
- Each year in the Lower Mainland, the number of casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions increases by 17 per cent in December compared to October (78 vs. 66 crashes).
- Each year on Vancouver Island, the number of casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions increases by 55 per cent in December compared to October (40 vs. 25 crashes).
- Each year in the Southern Interior, the number of casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions increases fourfold in December compared to October (85 vs. 20 crashes).
- Each year in the North Central region, the number of casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions more than doubles in December compared to October (34 vs. 14 crashes).
(Based on the five-year average from police data from between 2014 to 2018.)