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.

Just Posted

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP surprised by Conservative leader’s resignation

Arnold predicts Conservative party will remain united in its quest to become government

Vernon building evacuated after gas line hit

A natural gas line was struck, emergency responders unsure of size

Lug nuts loosened in Vernon

Mischief makers reportedly compromising cars; motorists reminded to check vehicles before operating

All lifts open this weekend at SilverStar

Some terrain remains closed until more snow falls

Vernon Curling Club hosts B.C. stick curling finals

First time B.C. Women’s event hosted under Curl BC; Open championship has local flavour

VIDEO: Andrew Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

Canadian airline passengers to be eligible for $1,000 in compensation for delayed flights

Passengers can also receive compensation for overbooking, lost luggage and other inconveniences

Shuswap’s Canoe Forest Products plywood plant to cut costs over Christmas

Predictions for future of Salmon Arm plant look positive, says general manager

Okanagan air ambulance receives approval to use night vision in rescue situations

BCEHS says this will benefit critically-ill or injured patients who require transport late at night

Second snowfall warning issued for Coquihalla Highway

Another 20 cm of snow is expected to fall by early Friday

Penticton’s Barley Mill, “naughty” Santa donate to SOS Medical Foundation

The brewery and local Santa raised $1,000 for the foundation on Dec. 7

RCMP take care when burying sex mannequins found this year in Manning Park

Police tasked with ensuring the mannequins were completely disposed

Kelowna area MP responds to Conservative leader’s resignation

Dan Albas wishes Andrew Scheer well after Scheer’s surprise announcement he is stepping down.

B.C. seniors need better vaccine protection, advocate says

Home support down, day programs up in annual rating

Most Read