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ICBC asks drivers to prepare for unpredictable weather this long weekend

February 9, 2017

 

Snow, sleet, heavy rain, fog and ice are just some of the challenging winter conditions you could encounter if you’re planning to travel throughout B.C. this Family Day long weekend.

As we’ve seen from the experience during the last few days, and many times this winter, ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim volumes go up significantly, every time there’s a snow storm.  That’s why it’s important for drivers to be prepared and adjust their driving for challenging road conditions across the province this long weekend.

Last year in B.C., more than 2,000 crashes occurred over Family Day long weekend resulting in 540 people injured. Over the last three years, an average of three people have been killed.*

Distracted driving and road conditions (snow, sleet, fog or rain) were the two predominant contributing factors in crashes over the long weekend.**

As road conditions can be unpredictable and vary widely across the province at this time of year, ICBC is asking drivers to prepare for all of the challenging winter road conditions they may encounter.

Here are ICBC’s top five safe driving tips for the long weekend:

1. Pre-trip check: Check your tire pressure and top up your windshield wiper fluid. Remember that you are still required to use winter tires on certain B.C. highways until March 31.

2. Know your route: Visit drivebc.ca to check road conditions for your entire route and possible road closures. There will likely be increased traffic volumes this long weekend so be realistic about your travel time and allow extra time to get to your destination.

3. It’s dark out there: Since it gets dark early in the evening right now, avoid setting off on a trip after a full day of work if you can and wait until the next morning instead. If you do travel after work, make sure you get a good sleep the night before and take rest breaks or switch drivers every two hours to prevent driver fatigue. If weather is poor or visibility is reduced, use your headlights to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers to reduce your risk of crashing.

4. Adjust your driving: 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.

5. Put it down: Make important calls before you get in your vehicle. Use rest stops to take a break, get some fresh air and check your messages. If you know you may find it challenging to ignore your cellphone while driving, turn it off or put it in the trunk of your car so you won’t be tempted.

Regional statistics*:

  • Last year, 390 people were injured in 1,400 crashes over Family Day long weekend in the Lower Mainland.
  • Last year, 61 people were injured in 220 crashes over Family Day long weekend on Vancouver Island.
  • Last year, 74 people were injured in 290 crashes over Family Day long weekend in the Southern Interior.
  • Last year, 20 people were injured in 160 crashes over Family Day long weekend in the North Central region.

*Injury and crash data is based on 2016 ICBC data. Fatality data is based on a three-year average from 2013 to 2015 police data.

**Contributing factors based on 2013 to 2015 police data.

ICBC Dial-a-Claim calls for Wednesday, February 8, 2017

​Total calls for B.C.​3,965
​Lower Mainland2,850
​Vancouver Island​575
​Southern Interior   ​220
​North Central    ​167

Over the past year, the average weekday call volume was 2,811.

Note: Each call doesn’t necessarily represent a new claim.