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)

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

Melissa Martin from the Rollin Art Centre holds two paintings from the Rollin Art Centre’s permanent collection: an original portrait painted by the late Robert Aller, and a mixed media piece called ‘House’ from Peggy Larson that was part of Aller’s private collection. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre to re-open February 2

Newest exhibit will feature some pieces from permanent collection

Rik Abel has opened Rik’s Picks, a vintage record shop on Johnston Road. (TERESA BIRD / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BIZ BEAT: Port Alberni businesses get innovative during pandemic

See what’s new in the Port Alberni business community

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Education advisor Tom McEvay congratulates two Alberni Valley Bulldogs on their high academic achievements for the 2015-16 season: Quinn Syrydiuk, left, for college and Cayden Kraus for high school. (KAICEE TROTT PHOTO)
BCHL: Port Alberni’s Tom McEvay joins Coquitlam Express as education advisor

McEvay now schools players for three teams, including Alberni and Nanaimo

Gary Bender from Bailey Electric secures two art banners on lampposts at Argyle Street and Sixth Avenue in May 2020. Despite a delay due to COVID-19 measures, the Rotary Club of Port Alberni-Arrowsmith was able to collect and put up half of the art banners it usually does in the Rotary Arts District. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Rotary Arts District banner program switches to ‘paint at home’ for 2021

Arrowsmith Rotary Club needs 80 registrations to go ahead this year

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at a fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. Mowi Canada has applied to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the decision by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out salmon farming in the Discovery Islands by June, 2022. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward photo)
Major B.C. salmon farm seeks court intervention in Discovery Islands ban

Fisheries minister is phasing out operations in the area by June 2022

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Most Read