ICBC's top tips for smart winter driving

VANCOUVER, Nov. 24 /CNW/ - Few places experience as varied winter conditions as B.C. Heavy rain, sleet, fog and snow are just some of the challenging conditions you could encounter while driving across the province.

In 2008, the number of crashes on B.C.'s roads jumped from 23,000 in November to 32,000 in December as record-breaking snowfall hit much of the province. ICBC is therefore reminding all motorists to drive smart and remember that others are sharing the same roads this winter.

    
    ICBC's top driving tips this winter are:

    YOUR CAR

    -   Get ready: Prepare your vehicle for winter. Invest in good wipers,
        top up fluids to avoid freezing, and frequently check your tire
        pressure - tires deflate in cold weather. If you are going on a long
        drive, pack a safety kit in your vehicle, including a first aid kit,
        shovel, blanket, water, energy bars, candle and matches.

    -   Get rolling: Make sure your tires are suitable for the road
        conditions you're driving in. In the Lower Mainland, badly worn or
        bald tires will not provide enough traction for some of the heavy
        rainfall. In parts of B.C. that experience substantial snowfall -
        such as the North or Southern Interior - install a full set of
        official winter tires (look for snow tires with a pictograph of a
        snowflake inside a peaked mountain). It's always a good idea to get
        your tires looked at by an expert, but to quickly check their
        condition, 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.

    YOUR ROUTE

    -   Make a plan: Because road conditions can vary so much across B.C.,
        it's always a smart idea to let a family member or friend know the
        route you'll be driving so they can know where you are in the event
        of a delay or if your vehicle is stranded. Delays are much more
        common during the winter months, so always give yourself extra time
        in case of bad weather. Check drivebc.ca for road and weather
        conditions before setting out.

    -   Look out: As the rain, snow, sleet and fog set in across B.C.,
        visibility on our roads gets much-reduced - especially given the
        darker morning and evening commutes. To ensure a safe drive this
        winter use extra caution around intersections in particular, where 40
        percent of all police-attended crashes occur in our province.

    YOURSELF

    -   Don't rush: The number one driving tip at this time of year is to
        slow down and keep your distance. Reduce your speed, especially on
        wet roads, in bad weather conditions or near intersections. Consider
        driving below the posted speed limit and leave enough space between
        your car and the one in front of you - at least three seconds
        following distance. Slowing down also allows you to see more of the
        road ahead and what is happening at intersections.

    -   Think ahead: Bad weather brings new elements on to our roads, such as
        highway maintenance vehicles and equipment including plows, salt and
        sand trucks. Think ahead and use caution when approaching these
        vehicles and never pass on the right.
    

If you are unfortunately involved in a crash this winter, remember that ICBC is dedicated to providing a hassle-free claims experience. Claims can be reported to ICBC's Dial-A-Claim centre 24 hours a day, 365 days per year:

    
        Lower Mainland: 604-520-8222
        Elsewhere in B.C.: 1-800-910-4222
        Outside B.C.: 1-800-910-4222

    For more information and tips, visit icbc.com/drivesmart.
    

SOURCE ICBC

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Michelle Hargrave, (250) 979-4642; Alyson Gourley-Cramer, (250) 561-5006

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