The chance of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash in British Columbia increases dramatically in winter. That’s why the Winter Driving Safety Alliance is reminding motorists and employers to plan ahead and drive safely in winter conditions.
On average, each year in B.C., the number of casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions increases to about 236 crashes in December from about 126 in October – an 87 per cent increase (Crashes reported by police 2014 – 2018). For those who drive for work, about a third of all work-related crashes resulting in injury and time-loss claims occur in November, December and January.
To get the drive safely message out, the Alliance is launching its 11th annual Shift into Winter campaign. The launch coincides with the law requiring passenger vehicles driving on designated highways in B.C. to have four matched winter tires (three-peaked mountain and snowflake, or mud and snow) with at least 3.5 mm of tread depth starting on October 1, while commercial vehicles must be equipped with chains.
The Shift into Winter campaign includes a website – ShiftintoWinter.ca – that provides information for motorists and employers on how to stay safe on the road this winter, whether they are driving for work or pleasure. To promote the campaign and website resources, the Alliance is running a series of ads in newspapers and magazines, on transit buses and radio, and through social media.
Winter means different things in different parts of the province. From rain and fog in the south, to snow and ice in the north. Winter conditions – such as colder temperatures, rain, snow, black ice, reduced visibility and fewer daylight hours – can present serious hazards for all drivers, professional and otherwise.
The Winter Driving Safety Alliance offers the following tips for motorists:
- Install a set of four matched winter tires.
- Give your vehicle a pre-season maintenance check-up.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle.
- Conditions change, so be prepared and plan ahead:
o Check current road and weather conditions on DriveBC.ca – If possible, postpone your plans and avoid driving when road andweather conditions are poor.
o Plan your route ahead of time – Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive and avoid any roads that may become dangerous during bad weather.
- Slow down – The posted speed limit is the maximum speed under ideal driving conditions. If inclement weather hits, slow down and drive with extra care.
- Maintain a safe following distance – Look ahead and keep at least four seconds of distance between you and the vehicle in front.
- Invest in winter driving training – Learn how to brake safely, get out of a skid, and how your car handles in winter weather.
More tips for motorists on how to prepare themselves and their vehicles can be found on ShiftintoWinter.ca.
Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees who drive for work, regardless of whether they drive a company-owned or personal vehicle. ShiftIntoWinter.ca provides information and resources that can help reduce the risks employees face when driving during winter. For employers and supervisors there is a winter driving safety online course, and an employer toolkit that includes policy and procedures templates and more. For drivers, there are resources how to prepare your vehicle and yourself for winter driving and an online quiz to test your knowledge.