Drivers face higher risk of crashing in December

12 December 2023

With holidays ahead, safety may be the gift that keeps on giving

‘Tis the season to be … extra careful when driving.

Crashes increase significantly during winter months in BC. Last December, 29,053 crashes were reported to ICBC – an average of nearly 1,000 a day. Claims for injuries from work-related crashes rise in December, according to WorkSafeBC statistics.

“Driving in winter is different from other times of the year and it’s more dangerous,” explains Trace Acres, program director for Road Safety at Work and spokesperson for the Shift into Winter safety awareness campaign.

The hectic holiday season brings a mix of more vehicles on the road, more drivers in a hurry, and more winter weather.

From snow and ice in northern BC to rain and fog on the coast, conditions challenge even the most experienced drivers. Colder temperatures, black ice, reduced visibility, and fewer daylight hours pose additional hazards.

“No one is a perfect driver. You can’t always predict how your vehicle or other vehicles will react in winter conditions,” says Acres.

Whether you’re on the road to see family over the holidays or as part of your job, you need to focus on getting to your destination safely rather than quickly, he adds.

“The best gift you can give your family this year is to get home to them safely.”

Tips for safe holiday driving

Most crashes are preventable. The best ways to keep yourself and your passengers safe include:

  • Avoid driving when conditions are poor. Use DriveBC to check weather and roads before setting out.
  • Have 4 matched winter tires in good condition on your vehicle. Road Safety at Work recommends tires with the 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol for the best traction.
  • Adjust driving for the conditions to maintain full control of your vehicle. Slow down and leave at least 4 seconds between you and the vehicle in front to allow yourself time to react.
  • See and be seen. Clear all snow and wait for the windows to defrost completely before setting out. Install new wiper blades and always have your lights on.
  • Give driving your full attention and avoid distractions such as your phone.
  • Watch for changes in your usual routes, such as roadside work zones.
  • Carry an emergency kit in your vehicle with supplies you may need if you get stranded even for a few hours.

“Attitude is one of the most important factors in safe winter driving,” says Acres. “Drivers with the right attitude don’t put themselves in high-risk situations.”

Employer responsibilities for driver safety on the job

Driving for work includes everything from making a sales call to travelling between job sites to making deliveries.

“Some employers may not realize they’re legally responsible for the safety of employees when they’re behind the wheel, even when employees drive their own vehicle,” Acres says.

Vehicles used for work in BC are deemed to be workplaces by WorkSafeBC, meaning they need to meet occupational health and safety regulations.

Employer responsibilities include ensuring drivers are aware of hazards they may encounter on the road, are trained, and have the equipment and supervision needed to keep themselves safe.

Employees need to know and follow their employer’s winter driving policy and procedures. They have the right to refuse to drive in unsafe conditions.

Visit ShiftIntoWinter for more information, including tips on how to read the road and prepare yourself for winter driving. The 15th annual winter driving safety campaign is a joint provincial initiative managed by Road Safety at Work and supported by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance.


The Hon. Harry Bains, Minister of Labour:

“With difficult weather conditions and limited daylight hours, winter driving can pose real challenges, especially for people who drive for work. I encourage everyone to read the Shift Into Winter tips and drive safely, so that everyone can get home to their families this holiday season.”

The Hon. Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure:

“As winter sets in, our highly skilled maintenance crews will be working throughout the province to keep our roads safe during challenging conditions. There’s no question that risks increase as the weather deteriorates, and we ask drivers to do their part by making sure their vehicle is equipped for winter driving – including winter tires – and following other great safety tips from Shift into Winter. That includes checking DriveBC for the latest on road conditions and avoiding unnecessary travel when conditions are poor.”

Todd McDonald, Head of Prevention Services, WorkSafeBC

“While driving is a routine in many jobs, it can be one of the most dangerous parts of the workday — even under optimal conditions. As winter weather approaches, employers should involve workers in understanding the risks and provide additional support to help them safely navigate the hazards of winter driving. This includes making sure workers are properly trained, their vehicles are in safe operating condition, their loads are secure, and their company’s risk assessments, policies, and procedures are in place and up to date.”

About the Winter Driving Safety Alliance

The Winter Driving Safety Alliance is a cross-section of public, private, and non-profit organizations committed to working together to improve safe winter driving behaviours and practices in BC. Members are: Ambulance Paramedics of BC, Automotive Retailers Association, BCAA, BC Forest Safety Council, BC Highway Patrol – RCMP, BC Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association, City of Kelowna, City of Vancouver, Concrete BC, Corecode Safety & Compliance, Hansen’s, ICBC, Island Equipment Owners Association, Justice Institute of British Columbia, Kal Tire, Mainroad Group, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, RoadSafetyBC, Road Safety at Work, SafetyDriven, Tiger Calcium, Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, Wilson M. Beck Insurance Group, WorkSafeBC.

About Road Safety at Work

Road Safety at Work manages the Shift into Winter campaign as part of its mandate to help BC employers improve the safety of workers when they drive for work. It provides free tools and information for employers, supervisors, and drivers at

Media contact

Gord Woodward, Communications manager
Road Safety at Work