Be careful navigating the winter roads to come

The snow is falling and people are setting up holiday decorations, visiting family members and snuggling up to warm fires. Some with car keys in hand, however, are becoming anxious and stressed. Winter weather for drivers can be dangerous, but can be a little safer if precautions are taken.

According to ICBC, crashes and incidents increased by 10 per cent in the Southern Interior last winter, and if drivers are not prepared for less-than-ideal conditions, the results can be deadly.

Timing is the crucial first step in countering these occurrences. Drivers should account for the extra time required to get to their destinations. Plan ahead and allow yourself extra time to travel so you can stay focused on the road and not worry about being late for work.

Checking road conditions and closures through websites like Drive BC is also a good idea and important habit to get into during the season. For immediate updates, Drive BC’s Twitter feeds report frequently on highway conditions.

Winter tires with adequate tread will help keep your vehicle on the road. A functional defrost and low temperature windshield washer fluid will help keep your windows clear. You can also clean your headlights to help with visibility for late night driving. Also consider keeping nonperishable snacks, plenty of water, a warm blanket, extra hats, gloves and socks in your vehicle in case you become stuck or stranded on the road.

Don’t drive if you don’t feel comfortable commuting in the winter conditions. Constantly assess your own abilities and concerns with winter driving and consider alternative methods of transportation if you don’t feel comfortable making the trek on your own. Poor visibility, icy roads and unexpected changes can be stressful situations for most. Other methods of transport, such as public transit, taxi service or carpooling with someone more confident and outfitted are options to consider.

Shifting into a winter driving mindset quickly and effectively will help to keep you and your vehicle safe in the months to come. Using and sharing online resources like ICBC and Drive BC help to create safer and responsible roads this holiday season.