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

Town has passed the 2021 budget, with a five per cent spending increase. (Claire Palmer photo)
Town council approves 2021 budget and tax rate bylaw

The budget will increase by five per cent this year

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Splatsin First Nation concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, will struggle to recover without habitat protection and restoration action - report

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

The area around the Christie Mountain wildfire that was restricted to the public is no longer restricted effective at 12 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (BC Wildfire photo)
The area around where the Christie Mountain wildfire took place is officially restricted to the public effective May 12. (BC Wildfire photo)
Christie Mountain wildlife area near Penticton closed to public

The area was damaged in 2020 by the Christie Mountain wildfire

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

A topographic (3D) perspective captured from Google Earth to create a perspective of the approximate proposed cut block outlines on Mount Ida in relation to familiar local landmarks. (Alex Inselberg image)
Salmon Arm council’s concerns eased over Mount Ida logging

Fire chief said proposed cut complements wildfire risk reduction efforts next to industrial park

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

The Salmo Public Library’s director Taylor Caron with her award. Photo: Submitted
Salmo Public Library director wins provincial award

Taylor Caron has been recognized by her peers for innovation and advocacy

A 30-year-old Kelowna woman is facing potential charges after allegedly driving impaired before crashing into a Mugford Road residence and fleeing the scene on May 11. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Alleged impaired driver crashes into Kelowna home before fleeing on foot

The crash caused damages to the yard, the surrounding chain fence and the residence’s deck

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Most Read