With winter weather bearing down on the BC Interior, BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) has seen an increase in motor vehicle incidents – particularly on mountain passes and highways — and wants all residents to be aware that road conditions can change quickly. Motorists need to be aware of the hazards of winter driving and how to adjust their driving to prevent accidents.
BCAS attends more than 486,000 events annually throughout the province and knows the added risks of driving in snow, ice and freezing rain. The following safety tips will help you stay safe on the roads this winter.
IS YOUR JOURNEY ESSENTIAL? – Don’t take unnecessary chances. Check the weather forecast and avoid driving in poor conditions. If you must travel, allow yourself extra time or wait until conditions improve.
CHECK YOUR VEHICLE – Before you leave, be sure you have sufficient windshield washer fluid. Poor visibility can lead to unnecessary accidents.
FUEL UP – Keep your gas tank sufficiently full — at least half of a tank is recommended in case you run into lengthy delays; the extra weight also assists with traction.
ARE YOU PREPARED? – BC Ambulance Service suggests carrying an emergency driving kit. A few items that you should carry in your kit and will be glad to have if necessary are chains or a gritty substance to help with traction if you get stuck, a shovel, safety cones or reflectors, jumper cables, ice scraper, flashlight, matches and a candle, blanket, non-perishable food, emergency phone numbers and a fully charged cell phone.
DRIVE SAFELY – Reduce your speed according to the conditions. BC Ambulance Service recommends a four-second gap between you and the car in front during winter driving conditions to help give you plenty of time to respond to hazards. Avoid braking suddenly as it can cause you to skid. If you do start to skid, take your foot off of the break and put the car into neutral. It is also recommended that while steering out of a skid that you look in the direction you want the car to go.
IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY – If you need help, pull off the road to make or receive a call on your cell phone. Be sure to keep your hazard lights on and if it is safe, place cones or reflectors in an angle behind your vehicle to assist with visibility.