As the winter weather has arrived, it’s time to equip your vehicle and adjust your driving to reflect.
Vehicle: Make sure your vehicle is in good operating condition, such as the brakes are working properly, you have adequate tire pressure, your defrost is working, you have working windshield wipers and topped up fluid for winter and you have proper tires. In our area, tires that have the M+S (mud and snow) symbol on the tire side wall should be the minimum. Ideal would be the snowflake-inside-mountain symbol on the tire side walls. If you are travelling north out of town, on the Gold River Highway, up the ski hill, through the pass to Port Alberni or over the Malahat, there will be signs posted requiring snow tires or chains. If you are stopped by police and do not have the proper tires or chains, you could face a fine for failing to comply with a traffic control device, specifically the signs posted.
As a secondary caution, it’s good to have items in your vehicle to help you if you do run into trouble, such as an ice scraper and brush, shovel, gritty substance such as kitty litter or sand to lay down for traction, flares, jumper cables, flashlight, extra washer fluid with anti-freeze solvent. And then as always, a first aid kit, warm blankets, fresh water, matches.
Driving habits: As the roads get slipperier, drivers need to adjust their driving habits. We’ve all come up to an intersection, applied the brakes and felt a loss of control because there is a sheet of ice at the intersection. First and foremost slow down. Give yourself lots of room between the car ahead of you to avoid a collision. Give yourself lots of time in the morning, warm your vehicle up and make sure to scrape all windows of ice and snow so you have good visibility. We have seen vehicles driving around with a small hole for the driver to see out of but the rest of the windows are covered. It is an offence to drive with obstructed view, so take the time to clean off all of your windows.
And of course, when it snows heavily, unless you absolutely need to go out, stay home and wait until the roads are clear.
– Contributed by the Campbell River RCMP