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ICBC and police urge Vancouver Island drivers to adjust their driving in fall and winter weather

Speed-related crashes significantly increase from October to December in B.C.

October 22, 2013

Every year in October, an average of 27 people are injured or killed in crashes on Vancouver Island due to driving too fast for the conditions. That number increases by 38 per cent to 37 in December as driving conditions worsen.*

That’s why today, ICBC and police launched a speed awareness campaign urging drivers to prepare for the challenges of driving in the fall and winter and to adjust their driving to the road conditions.

“Safety is our top priority and we want drivers on Vancouver Island to be prepared for the rapidly changing weather conditions we experience at this time of year,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Whether it’s your daily commute or a trip out of town, give yourself extra travel time so you aren’t rushing and always check before heading out so you can prepare for the road conditions you’ll encounter.”

“Even in the best conditions, driving requires your full attention,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “This is even more true when you’re on the roads in poor weather. When you drive too fast in wet, icy or snowy conditions, it’s harder to react to the unexpected.”

Seven out of 10 speed-related crashes in B.C. are caused by driving too fast for the road conditions, such as in rainy, icy or snowy weather. Throughout November, police and Speed Watch volunteers across B.C. are asking drivers to slow down and adjust their speed for the conditions.

“On Vancouver Island, drivers often experience wet, dark weather at this time of year which significantly reduces visibility,” said Chief Constable Jamie Graham, Chair of the Traffic Safety Committee of the British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police. “Please slow down and adjust your driving for bad weather. Give yourself some distance between vehicles in front of you and give yourself plenty of time to get places. Posted speed limits do not mean you have to go that fast, they are for ideal driving conditions only.”

"With the arrival of darker, wetter weather at this time of year on Vancouver Island, it can be difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and cyclists on the road,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety. “Drivers need to keep a sharp eye out for others – especially at intersections and near transit stops. Pedestrians and cyclists need to do their part too – always make eye contact with drivers and never assume a driver has seen you.”

Here are ICBC’s tips to help you stay safe this fall and winter:

  • When ice or snow hits: Ice and snow can hit unexpectedly. Early in the season, make sure your tires are rated for the conditions you may be driving in and check your tire pressure regularly – pressure drops in cold weather and overinflated tires can reduce gripping.
  • Consider alternatives: When heavy winter conditions arrive, consider alternatives to help you get to work safely – take transit, work from home or adjust your hours of work to avoid rush hour traffic.
  • If heavy rain hits: Heavy rain can seriously reduce visibility and make road surfaces more difficult to stop on. Make sure your wipers are in good condition and increase your following distance to at least four seconds so that you have time to stop if you need to.
  • Planning a trip: If you’re travelling to an area you’re not familiar with, it’s important to check the road conditions for your entire route so you can prepare your vehicle for the weather you may encounter. Many highways in B.C. require drivers to use winter tires or chains from October 1 to April 30. Visit the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s website to see if they’re required for your route and learn how to properly use chains.

Visit the speed relative to conditions campaign page on for more information.

*Note: ICBC data from 2008 to 2012.

Media contact:
Tamara McLean 

VIDEOS: Braking demonstrations on wet roads at 60km/hr versus 80 km/hr to illustrate the impact speed has on your stopping distance in wet conditions.