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​​ICBC is urging drivers to prepare for unpredictable road conditions this weekend

Thanksgiving long weekend one of the most dangerous on B.C. roads

October 9, 2013

Road conditions during the fall can be unpredictable across the province and even challenging in some areas, so ICBC is asking drivers to prepare their vehicles and plan their route before heading out this long weekend to help keep B.C. roads safe for everyone.

Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, on average, four people are killed and 540 injured in 1,770 crashes every year across the province.

“Safety is our top priority, and we want families to stay safe on the roads this Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “If you’re heading out of town to visit family or friends for Thanksgiving, please remember to check drivebc.ca to see the road conditions you may encounter along your route so you can feel confident you and your family are well prepared to have a safe weekend.”

“One of the best ways to ensure you and your family get to your destination safely and on time is to plan ahead and leave extra time for the unexpected,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “If you do come across an emergency situation on the road this Thanksgiving weekend, please remember to slow down and move over. We want everyone to get home to their loved ones safe and sound.”

Drivers already need to use winter tires or carry chains on many highways in B.C. as they’re required every year from October 1 to April 30. Visit the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s website for information on highway driving requirements and to learn how to properly use chains before you head out.

“Drivers need to remember that parts of our province are already experiencing winter conditions,” said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the Traffic Safety Committee of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police. “When your veh​icle is not properly equipped for the conditions, you are putting yourself and others at risk. You could be charged with an offence and forced to turn back if you don’t have winter tires or chains on highways where they are required.”

“Don’t underestimate the weather in B.C., temperatures are dropping and road conditions can change quickly in the fall and winter months,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety. “Once you’re on the road, avoid any distractions behind the wheel. Program your GPS before starting your trip and leave your phone alone – let your family and friends know you won’t be available while you’re driving.”

Here are tips from ICBC to help you stay safe this Thanksgiving long weekend:

  • Prepare your vehicle. Make sure that your tires are rated for the conditions you’re driving in, they’re inflated at the correct pressure and the tread isn’t badly worn – pressure drops in cold weather and over inflated tires can reduce gripping. Check your engine oil, washer fluid, condition of your windshield wipers and spare tire to make sure that they’re all in good condition.
  • Plan for it: Before setting out, visit drivebc.ca for the road and weather conditions of your entire route and check to see if winter tires or chains are required on any of the highways you will be driving. Weather conditions can change suddenly at this time of year and there could be increased traffic volumes, so be realistic about your travel time and allow extra time to get to your destination.
  • 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 distractions: Make important calls before you get in your vehicle and let your family and friends know you’re not available while you’re driving. If you’re on a longer drive, use highway rest stops to take a break, get some fresh air and check your messages. If you find it challenging to ignore your cellphone while driving, plan to avoid the temptation by turning it off or putting it in the trunk of your car.

Regional statistics*:

  • Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, on average, 380 people are injured in 1,120 crashes every year in the Lower Mainland.
  • Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, on average, 70 people are injured in 250 crashes every year on Vancouver Island.
  • Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, on average, 20 people are injured in 130 crashes every year in the North Central Region.
  • Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, on average, 60 people are injured in 270 crashes every year in the Southern Interior.

*Note: Crash and injury counts based on ICBC data (2008 to 2012); fatalities based on police data (2008 to 2012). Thanksgiving long weekend is calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.

For more tips to help you stay safe, please visit icbc.com.

Media contact:
Kathy Taylor
604-982-2480