RCMP and ICBC are asking drivers to prepare for and slow down in winter driving conditions.
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 a casualty crash as one in which at least one person is killed or injured.
The owner of Big O Tires in Maple Ridge said, ideally, drivers would have started preparing for winter driving conditions in late October.
“Winter tires are recommended as soon as it gets below 7 C,” said Bill King. “The reason for that is that all-season tires tend to harden up and become more slippery, while winter tires are a soft rubber compound, so they get better traction in the cold weather.”
The type of tire required for a given vehicle varies.
But in B.C., winter tires are defined as those with either the mountain snowflake symbol or the one with mud and snow, 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 the province.
King also recommends getting your vehicle’s battery inspected. The cooler the weather the more difficult it is to turn the engine, he said.
“With windshield wipers, it’s pretty much evident as soon as you turn them on if they’re not doing the job, if they need to be replaced, King added. “It’s not a big cost item, but it’s nice to see where you are going.”
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.
The crown corporation 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. ICBC suggests leaving the car at home if it is not safe to drive.