The Dangers of Winter Driving in B.C.

If you have just received your B.C. Drivers License you have to be prepared for the changing conditions of winter driving. There is a drastic rise in fatalities and casualties during the winter months throughout B.C. The amount of car crashes more than doubles from October to December. The most common cause of casualties is driving far too fast for the winter roads. Understanding the need to consider the conditions and adjust your driving will help to keep you safe. Here are some tips to help you make the proper accommodations to make up for winter driving conditions:

*   Black ice is a common occurrence throughout the cold months. They are especially common on bridges as well as overpasses. This is because they are more exposed and apt to freeze when the rest of the roadway remains slightly warmer. You may also encounter black ice in shady spots that do not have the warmth of the sun to keep ice from forming. Keep this in mind in order to avoid unexpected ice patches that often appear wet, but are actually frozen over.

*   If you have made a stop on particularly slick roads be certain to accelerate gradually. This will stop you from spinning your wheels and unexpectedly sliding forward.

*   Accelerate and brake slowly in slippery conditions to avoid unnecessary sliding.

*   If you go into a skid it is best to ease off on your accelerator and brake and put your car into neutral if possible. Do not over steer or you can lose control. Once you are out of the skid and regain control avoid further challenges in the area and brake with gentle, smooth movements. Of course the best way to avoid skidding in the first place is to drive slowly to meet the needs of changing road conditions. There are also skid courses you can take to learn how to safely get control of your car.

*   Always drive with your headlights on especially if visibility changes. This is important during snowstorms, but also in open areas where there might be blowing snow off the beach or open areas.

*   Be cautious when approaching snow ploughs or salt/sand machines and do not follow closely behind. These vehicles can kick up large amounts of snow and slush that can land directly on your windshield making it impossible to see.

*   Always maintain a safe distance between other vehicles in case of emergency stops or the chance the car in front of you loses control.

Once you have your drivers license in B.C. it is up to you to drive safely and adjust to weather conditions as they arise.

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