250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 28, 2017 1:56 am

Shift Into Winter Driving Mode

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 @ 3:54 AM

Truck_in_Ditch1Prince George, B.C.-  Don’t let the  rain  fool you,  winter is on its way, and we could  see temperatures dip well below the freezing mark at any time, or the landscape covered in  a blanket of snow.

(at right, commercial vehicle  in the ditch-image courtesy Road Safety at Work ).

While it is the law in B.C. that  you must switch to  winter tires October 1st if you are planning on driving on certain highways ( 16 and 97 included)  there are other things that  should be done if you haven’t done them already says Mark Ordeman, Manager of Industry  and Labour Services Transportation with WorkSafeBC.

Winter is an annual event,  yet  so many   drivers seem to be  caught off guard,  Ordeman  says  that may be a result of  our  busy lives “Winter shows up differently every  year in terms of the day we see our first snow, or our first freezing of the roadway, and we all have  busy lives, so I think that would be part of it,  with so much going on, and never knowing exactly the day the weather will turn, its easy for   winter to sneak up on you.”

Make no mistake,  when winter arrives, there is a significant  increase in the number of injury causing crashes on B.C.  roads. “We look at the last five years, 2010 to 2014 and we  average the number of  casualty crashes ( fatalities or injuries)  that involve driving too fast for conditions  and we see, when  we look at October, the average is 114 casualty crashes, and by December  we’re looking at 222, so there’s a real change in the  number of crashes that occur because of driving too fast for conditions.” In the  North Central region the number is  around 18 in  October,  and  jumps to 44  in December.

There are some  simple  tips  that  all drivers can follow  regardless of the reason they are behind the wheel in the first place.

  1. Know before you go,  do you really need to make the trip?  check the conditions on the route of  travel and if conditions are not favourable, you may have to change the  route
  2. Prepare yourself, leave lots of time for your journey otherwise  you may  drive  too fast  for conditions  and end up in  trouble
  3. Dress appropriately,  wearing the  right clothing, or at the very least having proper winter clothing in the vehicle, will save you from freezing to death while you wait for help  should your vehicle break down  or slide off the road
  4. Make sure your vehicle is ready  that means winter tires,  all  hoses and battery  are in good condition,  fluids topped up, brake lights and brakes  operating properly
  5. Have a winter survival kit in your vehicle.  flashlight, extra clothing, maybe some sand bags for extra  traction

Ordeman says one commonly held belief is that if your  vehicle is a 4×4 “you’re good to go”, but  that’s a myth “If you don’t have proper winter tires  that vehicle is not going to do you any good, it’s going to be just  as prone to getting stuck and going off the road as any  vehicle  without winter tires.  Really, winter tires  are one of the best things people can do  for themselves to deal with winter conditions.”

The Road Safety at Work   program has been in place since 2009 and Ordeman says it is encouraging to see there have been improvements “We see drivers recognizing the need to adjust their driving and prepare their vehicles for  winter weather.  Year over year we see a change and improvement so  the message is getting across, and we’re just going to  keep on giving it until 100% of this province  keeps it in mind when the month turns over to October.”

There is a website ( www.shiftintowinter.ca )  which has  a number of  tips and resources for  those who  must be  behind the wheel  during  the winter.



A small 12v electric heater is helpful to. With a large battery and used intermittently when needed it could be a life saver. I got minus 60 coveralls for back up and some hot sticks if needed.

I’d like to buy the SPOT satellite emergency communicator, but the $20 monthly subscription is something I haven’t yet got on board with. It would be great if one could just pay for use of it only when used… like $5 per text, or $50 for an emergency call out.

Left PG a few days ago, will be in Yuma soon, I’m prepared!!

Winter tires are a must now… So plan to get them done before the first snowfall… Last year I and most of PG waited until the first snowfall and tried to get them done … was a very long wait.

all these reminders are a great thing to those of us who normally follow them anyways, but those who really need to listen feel they are above it, know more than anyone else, will never have it happen to them, are perfect drivers and are special.

Don’t forget sandbags to hold the studs to the ice and a nice length of chain and a come-along for pulling the vehicle back on the road if it slides.

Sandbags?? For those who still drive rear wheel drives, I suppose.

Remember that heavier vehicles take a greater distance to stop.

Along with appropriate extra clothing, blankets/sleeping bags, a bit of food, some folks like to have a few candles in their emergency kit, to provide some light and heat if having to wait in the vehicle (crack a window open a bit if burning candles) A tarp is inexpensive, and does not take up much space, could help keep you dry.
Of course one or more good flashlights should be considered essential as well.

Thanks everyone! Now I won’t go driving at all unless I have Ray Mears or Bear Grylls with me! lol

And for the lazy among us, don’t cut the corner on curves, or you’ll be forced to over correct due to oncoming vehicle, might put you in the snowbank or worse. There are a lot of good comments on here. Just remember, we remember the negative, but there are a lot of good drivers out there.

You’ll notice lots of sandbags at gas stations soon. Somebody must be using them.

Comments for this article are closed.