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ICBC urges drivers to use caution over the holidays as crashes peak in December

December sees more crashes than any other month in B.C. Over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s each year, on average, 457 people are injured and two people are killed in 1,772 crashes in B.C.*

With many British Columbians taking a road trip or visiting friends or family locally over the coming weeks for celebrations, ICBC is urging drivers to use caution and be prepared before heading out on the road this holiday season.

ICBC’s tips to help everyone get home safe over the holidays:

labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Top up wiper fluid for clear visibility and pack an emergency kit with essentials like a blanket, warm clothing, food and water. Check road conditions on drivebc.ca before hitting the road and visit Shift Into Winter

  • for more tips on preparing your vehicle for winter conditions.

  • Reduce your speed. It’s important to adjust your driving speed to the road conditions, recognizing that posted speed limits are for ideal conditions. The faster you go, the longer it takes to stop – which increases your risk of a crash. Remember that small changes in how you drive can have a big impact, and driving at a lower speed will give you more time to react. Maintain a safe travelling distance between vehicles and allow increased time and distance for stopping on wet, icy, or snowy roads.

  • Keep your eyes on the road. Always leave your phone alone and avoid distractions while driving – even quick glances away from the road increases your risk of crashing.Make important calls and program your GPS before you begin driving.

  • Be alert in parking lots. When you’re running errands this holiday season, keep in mind that parking lots can be a challenging environment with more congestion and pedestrians. Pay extra attention, slow down, and back into parking spots when possible. Watch for pedestrians and cyclists when entering or exiting a parking lot.

  • Take a break. During longer trips, use highway rest stops to stretch, take a break and check your messages. Pull over at the nearest rest area as soon as you start to feel drowsy. Get out and walk around to get some fresh air. If that’s not enough, turn off your car and take a nap.

  • Plan ahead. If your celebrations involve alcohol or other drugs, plan ahead for a safe ride home. Arrange a designated driver, book a taxi or ride sharing service, take public transit, or use Operation Red Nose where available.

Statistics:**

Christmas holiday statistics:

  • Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, two people are killed and 288 people are injured in 1,187 crashes in B.C.

  • Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, one person is killed and 196 people are injured in 747 crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, one person is killed and 33 people are injured in 158 crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, one person is killed and 38 people are injured in 175 crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, 16 people are injured in 78 crashes in the North Central region.

New Year’s statistics:

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 169 people are injured in 585 crashes in B.C.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 114 people are injured in 340 crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 22 people are injured in 80 crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 25 people are injured in 104 crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, seven people are injured in 47 crashes in the North Central region.

*Christmas is defined as starting at 18:00 hours December 24 to midnight December 26. New Year’s is defined as starting at 18:00 hours December 31 of the previous year to midnight January 1 of the new year. Based on five year average (2018 to 2022). **ICBC data for injury and crashes and police data for fatalities.

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