Winter driving tips and safety

snow tiresWinter driving – We know BC highway conditions are unpredictable during the winter. You will face rapid changes in elevation and weather, high mountain passes where you are likely to encounter winter weather. Depending on your destination, you may leave home as the sun is shining but face slush, ice, or heavy snowfall along the way. It is your responsibility to understand the conditions on the roads, adjust your driving and prepare your vehicle accordingly. Here are a few things to think about when traveling in the winter.  

First visit DriveBC.ca for road conditions and weather forecast. It’s a great tool we have for any driving conditions, use it!

Make sure your vehicle is safe for winter driving. Know the difference between all-season tires and winter tires and install good winter tires and wiper blades. Have it checked for battery, brakes, lights and fuses, cooling and heating systems, electrical and exhaust systems, and belts and hoses. Top up the fluids and don’t forget to bring extra windshield washer fluid.

Try to avoid any dangerous roads during bad weather, but if you really can’t change your itinerary. Of course, do not attempt to drive on closed roads until they are re-opened.

Try to leave earlier when the conditions are not that gook, make sure you’re not rushing. It’s always better to travel during daylight so think about delaying your trip if the weather is bad. Let someone know which road you are driving on and when you have planned to arrive.

Learn winter driving skills. You can easily find winter driving workshop online. Learn how to brake safely, how to get out of a skid, and how your car handles in winter weather.

Keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you. You may need to brake suddenly on a slippery surface and you will need more room for that.

Wear warm winter clothes and boots in case you need to get out of your vehicle. Make sure you have plenty of gas, water and a food in case you get stuck. In this case, you want to have an emergency plan. Don’t panic stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth. You can use a survival candle for heat and set out a warning light or flares. If you have a cell phone and it is an emergency, call 911. Otherwise, call for roadside assistance.

You should always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle

According to the Winter Driving Safety Alliance, a winter survival kit should contain:

Non-perishable food, blankets and first aid supplies
Windshield scraper and snow brush
Extra windshield washer fluid
Spare tire, wheel wrench and jack
Shovel and traction mat, sand or kitty litter
Fuel line antifreeze
Flares and matches or lighter
Tire chains and gloves
Flashlight and extra batteries
Battery jumper cables
Extra clothing and footwear
Sandbags for extra weight

Stay safe!