Safe travel reminder for Family Day long weekend

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safe travelVICTORIA: The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure would like to remind travelers that storm and heavy snowfall warnings have been issued in the Cariboo, northern B.C., Kootenays and Columbia regions, and it is important to plan ahead, drive to the conditions and arrive safely.

Over the Family Day long weekend, many British Columbians will be travelling to visit friends and family. It is important that everyone stays safe, as heavy snowfall, freezing rain, poor visibility and icy conditions are expected to continue.

Road conditions can change quickly in British Columbia, and 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 until March 31, and motorists should ensure their vehicle has 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 motorists are prepared. Here are some helpful tips for traveling in winter driving conditions this long weekend:

* Check the weather forecast and adjust travel times to more favourable conditions, or choose alternate routes.

* For current road conditions, check DriveBC before you leave, as well as the nearly 700 highway webcam views available at more than 380 locations throughout B.C.

* Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement while driving, but bring warm clothing (winter boots, coat, gloves and hat) in case you need to get out of your vehicle.

* Have an emergency plan, and ensure your vehicle is equipped with a windshield scraper and snow brush, food and water, a first aid kit and other emergency supplies.

* If you get stuck or stranded, don’t panic. Stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth, and if you have a cell phone, 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, please obey all traffic control personnel.