Another long weekend approaches and many British Columbians are planning family road trips, but some are warning this could mean hectic roads and tricky conditions at higher elevations.
Taking a road trip in early spring doesn’t put you in the clear when it comes to the highways of BC. You may be surrounded by cherry blossoms in greater Vancouver, but as soon as you leave city limits and head for higher elevations you may find that winter remains.
Well travelled highways such as the Sea to Sky, Coquihalla, and Allison Pass (and others) can get daytime/overnight snowfall all the way through until the summer. You need to prepare accordingly. Don’t change your winter tires quite yet.
According to ICBC, Easter long weekends average four fatalities, 650 injuries, and 2,300 crashes in the province. Last year, reports show that there were nearly 500 injuries and almost 2000 crashes in B.C. over the Victoria Day long weekend.
Make sure your vehicle is road-ready after the winter thaw – follow these spring car maintenance tips to ensure your ride is fit for the upcoming warmer season.
Change those winter tires. While these are ideal for winter weather conditions, winter tires actually compromise traction on dry and wet roads.
Your vehicle will need a thorough cleaning. Give your car a good post-winter-washing, both on the outside and inside — that means washing and waxing, clearing out that built-up clutter, and whipping out the handheld vacuum to pick up all those crumbs.
Check your battery. If your car battery is more than four years old, you should consider driving down to your local auto parts supplier to get your battery tested, and possibly replaced.
Check your brakes. Before setting off on any spring road trips, make sure your brakes are in good working order — especially when driving in BC’s mountainous terrain.
Check your windshield wipers. Snow, sludge and ice can take a toll on your wiper blades in wintertime – make sure they’re ready for April showers, and check for tears or cracks.
Change your oil and fluids. This is the easiest way to avoid unnecessary high fuel consumption, poor engine performance, and can even prevent severe engine damage.
Taking these simple steps now will go far to eliviate future problems and make that spur-of-the-moment spring get away just that much safer and more enjoyable.
Most collisions in winter and early spring are caused from driving too fast, and following too close — which is also a major factor in casualty collisions in British Columbia.
The following tips will show how you can make a few adjustments when driving in bad weather.
Adjust your speed and slow down.
Drive at a speed so you can safely control your vehicle.
Leave some space — it can take as much as twelve times the normal distance to stop in icy conditions.
Never use cruise control on wet or slippery roads.
Look at least 15 to 20 seconds ahead and slow down if your visibility is reduced.
Use extra caution when approaching highway maintenance equipment and never pass on the right.
Before you leave, dress for the weather conditions, even on short trips. Clear your windshield, lights, mirrors and all side windows of ice and snow to give you proper visibility. And finally, keep your gas tank full to avoid the risk of codensation that may cause gas-line freezing.
Weather stripping helps prevent a window from wobbling or tapping against the installation surface. When it’s gone, a window stands a fair chance of cracking or breaking on bumpy roads or if any significant wind resistance forces it to shift.
Taking the time to perform basic window weather stripping care and maintenance now can save you on headaches, accidents and money over the upcoming cold weather season.
If you live in BC you know the rains are coming. Rain helps to clear the air and keeps our province green, but it can make driving difficult if you’re not prepared. This is the time to check your wipers and replace them if necessary. A good time to top up your windshield washer fluid too.
All-season tires work well on both dry and wet roads and are a good investment to tackle those sudden down pours. Remember, water pools in the outside lanes, so stay in the middle lanes where possible. It is also easier to drive in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you than to drive through large puddles. Keep a following distance of at least five seconds and break and turn slowly.
If you’re prepared, driving in the rain can be a lot more stress free.
With children returning to school next week, roads will be very busy. ICBC is asking drivers to give themselves extra travel time so they aren’t rushing and more likely to speed. Drivers should be completely focused on the road and be watching for children, especially in or around school zones.
Last year, 7,900 drivers were ticketed for speeding in school and playground zones in B.C. Police and Speed Watch volunteers will be closely monitoring drivers’ speeds in school zones to help children get a safe start to the school year.
When you’re dropping off your children in school zones, allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.
If a vehicle’s stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.
Watch for school buses and when their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.
Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.
In residential areas, a hockey net or ball can mean that kids are playing nearby. Watch for children as they could dash into the street at any moment.
Remember that every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In playground zones, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect every day from dawn to dusk.