Victoria: With the Family Day long weekend coming up, travellers are reminded to plan their trips in advance, check the weather forecast before leaving home and drive to conditions.
Over the Family Day long weekend, many British Columbians will be travelling to visit friends and family or explore B.C.’s winter destinations. Now that B.C.’s Family Day aligns with other provinces, even more traffic is expected on highways. It is important that everyone stays safe as heavy snowfall, freezing rain, poor visibility and icy conditions can be encountered.
Much of the province has experienced heavy snowfall in the last week, and road conditions can change quickly in British Columbia. While maintenance crews strive to keep routes safe and in the best possible condition, people must use caution and slow down when they encounter bad weather or limited visibility. Driving to current conditions will improve safety for everyone on the road.
Drivers are also encouraged to get the best tires they can for their vehicles. Winter tire regulations are in effect and people should ensure their vehicle is equipped with tires with the mountain/snowflake or mud and snow (M + S) symbol when travelling on designated routes. For extreme winter weather conditions, tires with the mountain/snowflake symbol provide the best traction and handling.
Crashes can be prevented when people are prepared. Some helpful tips for travelling in winter driving conditions this long weekend include:
- Check the weather forecast and adjust travel times to more favourable conditions or choose alternate routes.
- For current road conditions, check DriveBC.ca before leaving, as well as the nearly 800 highway webcam views available at more than 400 locations throughout B.C.
- Wear comfortable clothing that does not restrict movement while driving, but bring warm clothing (winter boots, coat, gloves and hat) in case getting out of the vehicle is required.
- Have an emergency plan, and ensure the vehicle is equipped with a windshield scraper and snow brush, food and water, a first-aid kit and other emergency supplies.
- If stuck or stranded, do not panic. Stay with the vehicle for safety and warmth. If available, use a cellphone to call for roadside assistance. If there is an emergency, call 911.
Heavy snowfall can increase the risk of avalanches in some areas. This can cause temporary highway closures while ministry avalanche experts ensure safe conditions. During these times, obey all traffic control personnel.