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ICBC survey: half of drivers using winter tires this year

October 30, 2017

Crashes increased 10 per cent last winter.

A new ICBC survey shows that nearly half (48 per cent) of drivers surveyed plan to or already have put winter tires on their vehicle in anticipation of another heavy winter this year.

With last winter's snowy and icy weather, serious crashes involving injury or death increased by 10 per cent in B.C. compared to 2015 due to drivers going too fast for the road conditions.*

Almost half of those surveyed (47 per cent) witnessed a crash during the winter weather last year and one quarter admitted to experiencing at least one 'near miss' on the road.

In the North Central region, casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions more than double every year as the weather worsens throughout fall.**

Drivers' top concerns this winter are other drivers who don't slow down or adjust their driving and drivers who don't know how to drive in snow and ice.

That's why ICBC and police are appealing to northern B.C. drivers to adjust their driving for the conditions they encounter. In bad weather, slow down, increase your following distance and allow extra travel time.

Police across B.C. are looking for drivers travelling at unsafe speeds.

Top five challenges for northern B.C. drivers this winter:

  1. Ice and snow can hit unexpectedly so make sure your tires are rated for the conditions you'll be driving in this winter. Check your tire pressure regularly – pressure drops in cold weather and overinflated tires can reduce gripping. Drivers polled in the survey were least confident when driving on icy roads as compared to snow and other conditions.

  2. After last year's severe winter, most drivers surveyed stated they had to add extra time to their daily commute and adjust their times of travel. When severe winter conditions arrive, consider alternatives – take public transit if possible, carpool with a confident driver whose vehicle is equipped for the conditions, take a taxi, work from home or wait until the road crews have cleared major roads. Sometimes the best option is to leave the car at home.

  3. Consider using your headlights whenever weather is poor and visibility is reduced – not only at night – to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers. Keep in mind that daytime running lights usually don't activate your taillights too.

  4. Clear off any snow that's built up on your vehicle's headlights and wheel wells before driving; it can affect your ability to see and steer.

  5. In poor weather, use extreme caution when approaching highway maintenance vehicles on the road and never pass on the right. Be patient and maintain a safe following distance – these vehicles throw up snow and spray which can make it difficult to see. If you notice a vehicle stopped on the side of the road with flashing red, blue or yellow lights, you're required to slow down and move over.

For detailed tips on how to drive in winter weather, visit icbc.com.

*Casualty crashes where at least one person was injured or killed. Police data. Compares 2016 to 2015.
** Casualty crashes where at least one person was injured or killed. Compares October to December using police data (annual average from 2012 to 2016).

Media contact:

Lindsay Olsen
604-982-4759