The holidays are here and many drivers will be traveling to visit family and friends to celebrate. With increased traffic and unpredictable road conditions, it’s important for everyone to be prepared and drive smart.
Over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s, 530 people are injured and two people are killed in 2,000 crashes every year in B.C. That’s one crash every three minutes.
Here are ICBC’s tips to get home safe this holiday season:
- Check your vehicle. Many B.C. highways require winter tires, labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Top up wiper fluid for clearer visibility and pack an emergency kit including blanket, food and water.
- Slow down. 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.
- Avoid distraction. Make important calls and program your GPS before you begin driving and let your family and friends know you’re not available while driving. If you’re on a longer drive, use highway rest stops to take a break and check your messages.
- Take a break. Pull over as soon as you start to feel drowsy. Get out and walk around to get some fresh air. If that’s not enough, pull over to a safe area, turn off your car and take a nap.
- Plan for a safe ride home. If your holiday festivities involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home: arrange a designated driver, call a taxi, take transit or use Operation Red Nose where available. There’s no excuse to drink and drive.
Christmas holiday statistics:
- During the Christmas holidays, on average, one person is killed and 350 people are injured in 1,300 crashes in B.C. every year.
- During the Christmas holidays, on average, 260 people are injured in 810 crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.
- During the Christmas holidays, on average, 69 people are injured in 340 crashes on Vancouver Island every year.
- During the Christmas holidays, on average, 45 people are injured in 180 crashes in the Southern Interior every year.
- During the Christmas holidays, on average, 15 people are injured in 87 crashes in the North Central region every year.
New Year’s statistics:
- Every year during New Year’s, on average, one person is killed and 180 people are injured in 700 crashes in B.C.
- Every year during New Year’s, on average, 130 people are injured in 470 crashes in the Lower Mainland.
- Every year during New Year’s, on average, 17 people are injured in 78 crashes on Vancouver Island.
- Every year during New Year’s, on average, 15 people are injured in 95 crashes in the Southern Interior.
- Every year during New Year’s, on average, nine people are injured in 48 crashes in the North Central region.
*Christmas is defined as 18:00 hours December 24 to midnight December 26. New Year’s is defined as 18:00 hours December 31st of the previous year to midnight January 1 of the New Year. ICBC data for injury and crashes based on five year average (2014 to 2018); police data for fatalities based on five year average (2013 to 2017).