ICBC's top five tips for a safe holiday season

VANCOUVER, Dec. 15 /CNW/ - 'Tis the season for good cheer, but December has already bought its share of snow and rain, along with an increase in crashes on B.C.'s roads and highways.

In the hope that everyone enjoys a safe holiday season, ICBC offers these top five tips:

No. 1 - Prepare your vehicle: Winter in B.C. always means mixed weather conditions - heavy rain, sleet, fog... and if last winter was anything to go by, substantial snowfall. It's vital to adequately prepare your vehicle for a range of conditions, especially if you'll be travelling to different parts of our province over the holiday season. One of the most important tips is to make sure you've got the right tires and they are in good condition. Winter tires are a must if you are planning to drive in snow or icy conditions. Put a toonie between the tread on your tire. If the tread doesn't reach the gold centre of the toonie, it's time to think about getting new tires.

No. 2 - Protect your vehicle: Auto thieves always look for an easy target - and there can be lots of those around over the holiday season. While it's always best to take your possessions with you, that's not always possible. If you're using your vehicle to do the holiday shopping for the whole family, remember to remove any gifts from sight by securing them in your trunk. If you're shopping and take gifts back to your car before heading back to shop some more, then consider moving your car to a different location.

No. 3 - Get a smart last-minute gift: While we're thinking vehicle protection, why not treat a family member or friend to a great holiday gift that's also practical too - steering wheel locks are cheap to purchase and are a great visual deterrent for any auto thief. For more sophisticated auto crime protection, consider an immobilizer - the best way to prevent your vehicle from being stolen on any pre-2007 passenger vehicle (all passenger vehicles since then have immobilizers as standard equipment). A good standard immobilizer can be picked up and installed for as little as $160 and will make any vehicle virtually impossible to steal. ICBC customers who have a passive electronic immobilizer installed receive a discount on their comprehensive coverage and can receive a $100 rebate on their deductible at the time of any theft or attempted theft.

No. 4 - Be a role model: While you're busy rushing around making those last-minute holiday plans, remember to start getting into the habit of letting any calls to your cellphone go to your voicemail while you're driving. As of January 1, no handheld communications devices will be allowed behind the wheel. This is a great chance to act as a role model to your passengers, especially if you have children who are nearing the legal driving age.

No. 5 - Plan a safe and smart party: December is CounterAttack season in B.C., so help make B.C.'s roads safer by providing your guests with a safe ride home - encourage the use of transit, designated drivers, have taxi numbers on hand, or call Operation Red Nose at 1-877-604-NOSE. It's also possible to have a lot of fun without alcohol - a hot apple cider, a smooth and creamy Kootenay Koffee or a tart and tingling Lemon Fizz are fun and easy-to-make mocktails treats. For these quick and simple recipes go to:

http://www.icbc.com/road-safety/safer-drivers/drinking-driving/mocktails

SOURCE ICBC

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Adam Grossman, (604) 982-1332

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