ICBC urges northern B.C. drivers to slow down in icy, snowy conditions
November 1, 2012
Every October, on average, there are 24 crashes resulting in injuries or death in North Central B.C. due to people driving too fast for the conditions and that number more than doubles to 50 in December as driving conditions worsen.*
That's why today, the province, police and ICBC joined together to launch a speed awareness education and enforcement campaign to encourage B.C. drivers to slow down in poor weather and help them prepare for the challenges of driving in the fall and winter.
"The number of speed-related crashes significantly increases during the fall and winter months," said Mary Polak, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "Driving in wet, icy or snowy conditions can make it harder to stop, steer and slow down. Fall and winter weather are here, so please drive safely, responsibly and always to the conditions of the road."
"I'm pleased to know our police officers will be out on the roads ensuring British Columbians slow down so we can all get home safely," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "We all know winter weather changes road conditions quickly, and it's important to allow extra traveling time and stick to the speed limits. Slowing down and driving for the road conditions is common sense."
"The reality is that speeding is the leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C.," said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Victoria Police Department and Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. "As the weather changes and road conditions worsen, we need to adjust our driving and prepare for the conditions we may encounter. That's why in November, police and speed watch volunteers across the province will be looking for drivers who are travelling at unsafe speeds."
"In the North Central region, icy roads are the main factor in crashes where the driver was travelling too fast for the conditions," said Fiona Temple, ICBC's director of road safety. "Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention, but especially in winter weather. When snow and ice hits, it can seriously reduce your visibility and make stopping on road surfaces more difficult. We want you and your family to stay safe on our roads so in poor weather, please slow down, increase your following distance and allow extra travel time."
If you're running late, you might be tempted to rush to make up time. Rushing on the road is risky at any time of year but especially in poor weather. We want to help drivers get to where they're going safely so we're offering free sharable late excuses at icbc.com/drivesmart.
Here are tips from ICBC for safe fall and winter driving:
- Get prepared. Check the weather before you head out for the day. If you're planning a trip to an area you're not familiar with, check the road conditions for your entire route so you can prepare for the weather you may encounter.
- Slow down. Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only. It takes more time and distance to come to a complete stop on snowy roads. Slow down and increase your following distance to at least four seconds.
- Prepare your vehicle. Make sure that your tires are rated for the conditions you're driving in, the tread isn't badly worn and they're inflated at the correct pressure - pressure drops in cold weather and over inflated tires can reduce gripping. Make sure your wipers are in good condition so that you can see more of the road.
- Leave the car at home. When heavy snow arrives, consider alternatives for getting to work so you get there safely - whether it's taking transit, carpooling with a friend who's a confident winter driver, working from home or adjusting your hours of work.
ICBC invests in road safety to help change driver behaviour and make our roads safer for everyone.
- Each October there is an average of 149 crashes resulting in injuries or death in B.C. due to people driving too fast for the conditions. That number nearly doubles in December to 289 as the driving conditions worsen.
- Speeding is the leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. On average, 129 people are killed each year in speed-related crashes.
*Statistics are police reported incidents over the last five years (2007 to 2011).