A BCAA study found 43 per cent of British Columbian drivers nervous in winter conditions and even fewer have their vehicles prepared for inclement weather. (BCAA)

Nearly half of B.C. drivers nervous in winter conditions: BCAA

‘Wait and see’ approach common practice for 32% of B.C. motorists

Nearly half of British Columbians, or 43 per cent, admit to being nervous behind the wheel during the winter months, yet the majority of those nervous drivers are unprepared for bad weather events, a BCAA study found.

The BCAA’s Winter Driving Study, which sampled 1,443 adult B.C. drivers, found 32 per cent of motorists take a “wait and see” approach when it comes to preparing their vehicles for bad weather days, while 21 per cent wait until the last minute, or have no plans to winterize their vehicles at all.

Drivers in typically less snowy parts of B.C., such as Vancouver Island and Metro Vancouver, are the least prepared for snow and winter driving.

“Chances are, no matter where you are in the province, at some point you’re going to hit bad weather,” BCAA Automotive manager Josh Smythe said.

Bad weather, Smythe noted, is not just snow, but darkness, fog, heavy rain and ice. These conditions can quickly turn any drive into a treacherous one, especially when unprepared, he said.

Calls to BCAA’s Roadside Assistance can be 40-60 per cent higher across B.C. in inclement weather. In Metro Vancouver, for instance, call volumes typically double during snowy or frigid weather.

“There are newer weather patterns to consider, including windstorms, which some of B.C. has already experienced this season,” Smythe said.

The study found unusual weather patterns have made 66 per cent of drivers “more vigilant” when it comes to having their vehicles serviced. And although Smythe said he sees this as a positive outcome, 71 per cent of B.C. motorists rated themselves as “poor winter drivers.” Forty-nine per cent, however, rated B.C. drivers “probably the worst winter drivers in Canada.”

“Some of us consider ourselves ‘frost forward’ and get our vehicles ready early in the season,” Smythe said. “But too many are too chill about winter driving and that’s just dangerous for everyone.”

Winterize your vehicle with BCAA’s tips:

1. Prepare your car to perform in winter so you can drive more safely:

  • Get a complete vehicle check-up and install winter tires before cold weather sets in. Sooner is better so you don’t get caught out. For most highways in B.C., the law requires winter tires as of October 1.
  • Carry a winter driving emergency kit and chains in your car.

2. Adjust your driving to match the weather conditions:

  • Before you drive: check road and weather conditions, clear snow and ice from windows and lights, defog all windows.
  • Route plan to avoid trickier areas such as hills or narrow unplowed streets.
  • As you drive: slow down, leave more room between you and the car ahead and use turn signals well in advance.

3. Put safety first:

  • Be honest about your driving skills and comfort levels—don’t drive in conditions when you don’t have the skills or if you’re nervous.
  • Always have a plan b. Avoid the temptation to drive when you shouldn’t by planning other transport options.
  • Shovel your driveway and consider how accessible your car is when you park, so roadside assistance can reach you if necessary.
  • Carry emergency items in your car, including: highly visible winter outerwear, safety cones, battery jumper cables, a shovel, windshield scraper and brush, flashlight and batteries, warm clothes and boots, gloves, blanket, supply of non-perishable food and water, spare container of winter-grade washer fluid.

READ MORE: Vernon’s October 2019 the coldest on record

READ MORE: Autism support dog refused bus access for being a ‘pet’


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rent-It Centre takes over curbside collection contract in Tofino and Ucluelet

Rent It Centre’s bid was $25,865 lower than the only other bidder, SonBird Refuse and Recycling.

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”

Tofino welcomes much needed veterinarian to town

West Coast has not had a full-time vet since Dr. Jane Hunt surrendered her licence in 2004.

Looking back on the West Coast’s top 10 news stories

Tofino and Ucluelet’s top headlines of 2019.

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Wind and snow spark power outages across Vancouver Island

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Most Read