The RCMP and ICBC are asking drivers to prepare for winter driving conditions, during which statistics show there is an increase in crashes.
Each year in the Lower Mainland, the number of casualty crashes due to driving too fast for the conditions increases by 17 per cent in December compared to October, according to ICBC.
The information is based on police-data from 2014 to 2018 and defines casualty crash as one in which at least one person is killed or injured.
Owner of the locally owned and operated Walnut Grove Auto Tech (20092 93A Ave.) recommends drivers check their vehicles have the appropriate washer fluid, anti-freeze, tires, lights and wipers.
“There’s always people that are going to be late, but lots of people are pretty good about it,” said Garth Hansen. “When the temperature starts dropping below the 7 C [range] that’s a good time to think about doing it.”
Vehicles don’t require a lot of winter maintenance, he said, but the local business owner does recommend a seasonal check-over.
“It’s mainly making sure that everything is working well and making sure you have winter washer fluid, that’s the big difference, because the summer stuff will freeze,” he explained.
Winter tires are important because they perform differently in poor weather conditions.
“Winter tires remain more supple so they can grip better,” Hansen said.
The type of tire required for a given vehicle will vary.
But in B.C., winter tires are defined as those with either the Mountain Snowflake symbol or the Mud and Snow (M+S) symbol, according to the RCMP.
Winter tires must be in good condition with a minimum tread depth of 3.5 millimetres, and must be used on designated highways from Oct. 1 to March 31, the police authority noted.
Drivers should keeping vehicle tires properly inflated to avoid irregular wear and prolong tread life.
Large trucks are also required to carry chains in this province.
Hansen said he keeps gloves and a hat in the car as well.
“We get a few people in the wintertime that come in and their heat is not working inside their car… so that’s a good thing to check pre-winter – all of sudden we get a cold snap and you don’t have any heat in the car,” he explained.
ICBC is reminding drivers to clear off any snow from their vehicle before driving, including from their headlights. Headlights and taillights should be on in poor weather conditions when there’s often reduced visibility.
ICBC asks drivers to be aware of black ice when temperatures are near freezing. Black ice is commonly found in shaded areas, bridges, overpasses and intersections, according to its website. Slow down and keep a distance from motor vehicles.
In severe winter weather consider alternatives such as public transit, or carpool with someone who is equipped for the conditions. The Crown corporation suggests leaving the car at home if it is not safe to drive.