Be aware! Drive with care.

It may be rare to find ice and snow on streets in the Lower Mainland, but it does happen. Even wet streets can be dangerous, and if the temperature drops, it can turn into a virtual skating rink. Statistics from ICBC and police reports in BC show twice as many car crashes in December than October.

Whether icy skids or hydroplaning every winter is marked by a major spike in traffic accidents.

Travel under these conditions is always unpredictable but there is one thing that’s easy to predict. Drivers who let their speed exceed what is warranted by these hazards  double their chances of injury or death in a serious accident from fall through winter.

Here are a few things to help practice safe driving:

Check your car

Rain and snow hampers visibility and on the road, you need to see and be seen. This means clearing dirt and debris from headlights and tail lamps and seeing that all lights are working.

Also make sure your wipers function properly and that you have topped up the washer fluid. Check to see your tires are inflated properly and that there are no problems with the brakes.

Check your speed

Once you are on the road, take it slow. Wet, icy and snowy roads are slippery  and excessive (or even normal) speeds are dangerous – rain will bring out oil and gas residue in the pavement and that adds a layer of slickness –  braking takes longer when you speed. Add a slippery surface and you’re adding more to your braking time.

Adjust your driving

Aside from a safe speed, rain, snow or cold days where ice can develop, requires a few other changes to the way you drive. Leave plenty of room for sudden stops, and no tailgating.

Handling hydroplaning

Hydroplaning can be one of the scariest experiences on a rain-soaked road. In an instant, you can feel like the car has taken on a mind of its own. But if you do hydroplane, don’t panic. You’re still in control. Stay calm, focus on where you want the car to go, ease off the gas and ease on the brakes to adjust speed (don’t slam either pedal!), and steer yourself away from the water.

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