ICBC: over 1,900 crashes every year during the holidays
December 21, 2021
The holidays have arrived and that means many British Columbians may be visiting family and friends in small gatherings to celebrate together. This can lead to an increase in traffic on our highways, and in some cases, unpredictable road conditions for drivers to navigate through.
Over the Christmas holidays and New Year's, 540 people are injured in over 1,900 crashes in B.C.* That's 23 crashes every hour. Even more sobering, three people die in crashes during this span every year.
It's important for everyone to be prepared and drive safe throughout the holiday season.
Here are ICBC's tips to help everyone get home safely during Christmas and New Year's:
Follow travel alerts and restrictions, and stay updated on road conditions. Travel should be consistent with provincial orders. For information on travel restrictions, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/natural-disaster/support/restrictions. Also, find updated road conditions at DriveBC and current travel advisories at: https://www.tranbc.ca/current-travel-advisories/.
Check your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is winter ready. If you are travelling through mountain passes or areas which could experience winter conditions, plan ahead. Many B.C. highways require winter tires, labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Top up wiper fluid for clearer visibility and pack an emergency kit including a blanket, food and water.
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. Leave your phone alone. Make important calls before you get in your vehicle and program map directions before you begin your trip. If you're on a longer drive, make sure you have a fully charged phone and use highway rest stops to take a break and check your messages. Always stay focused on the road.
Take a break. Pull over as soon if you start to feel drowsy. Get out and walk around to get some fresh air. If that's not enough, pull over to a safe area, and rest until you feel safe to drive.
Plan for a safe ride home. If your holiday celebrations involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home. Arrange for a designated driver, call a taxi or ride share ahead of time, take transit, or use Operation Red Nose where available. There's no excuse to drive impaired.
Christmas holiday statistics:*
Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, two people are killed and 340 people are injured in 1,200 crashes in B.C.
Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, 260 people are injured in 740 crashes in the Lower Mainland.
Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, one person is killed and 29 people are injured in 150 crashes on Vancouver Island.
Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, one person is killed and 42 people are injured in 170 crashes in the Southern Interior.
Every year during the Christmas holidays, on average, 15 people are injured in 75 crashes in the North Central region.
New Year's statistics:*
Every year during New Year's, on average, one person is killed and 200 people are injured in 730 crashes in B.C.
Every year during New Year's, on average, 140 people are injured in 480 crashes in the Lower Mainland.
Every year during New Year's, on average, 22 people are injured in 84 crashes on Vancouver Island.
Every year during New Year's, on average, 22 people are injured in 110 crashes in the Southern Interior.
Every year during New Year's, on average, one person is killed and seven people are injured in 45 crashes in the North Central region.
*Christmas is defined as starting at 18:00 hours December 24 to midnight December 26. New Year's is defined as starting at 18:00 hours December 31st of the previous year to midnight January 1 of the new year. Based on five year average (2016 to 2020). ICBC data for injury and crashes; police data for fatalities.