Tool Kit

Driving for the Conditions

Road and weather conditions change quickly in BC, and your driving should adjust to them. Driving too fast for the conditions causes crashes. Learn tips for safe driving in a variety of weather conditions.

Year-round driving

In BC, every season has challenging weather. Driving too fast for the conditions causes crashes, and it isn’t just dangerous in severe weather. You can go too fast in light rain or bright sunshine too.

Reduce your risk of injury or death by following these 4 guidelines at all times:

1. Maintain a safe following distance
2. Reduce speed for the conditions
3. Use your headlights
4. Know your right to refuse unsafe work

Driving in rain

Rain can fall at any time of year in BC and is especially hazardous in colder temperatures or low light. Reduced visibility, slippery roads, spray, and flooding can challenge even the best drivers.

Safe driving in wet conditions

Follow these tips to stay safe on wet roads:

Know before you go
Use windshield wipers as your first defence
Use your headlights
Change the way you use brakes
Keep brakes as dry as possible
Be extra cautious after it rains
Stay well back from trucks and buses

Avoid hydroplaning

Hydroplaning happens when water on the road collects faster than your tires can push it away, and your vehicle loses its connection to the road. If your vehicle starts hydroplaning, you may have trouble steering or braking. Hydroplaning usually happens at higher speeds, over 60km/h.

Hydroplaning can happen with less water than you may think, and at any time of the year.

Follow these tips to reduce your risk:

Be careful with cruise control
Avoid pools of water
Stay calm

Driving in fog

In fog, your visibility can decline in seconds. Even creeping along at 10 to 15 km/h can be dangerous. Low visibility increases crash risks, so adjust your driving. If it’s foggy, try to cancel or delay your trip. An hour or two can make a difference to visibility.

If you must drive, follow these guidelines:

Plan your route ahead of time
Drive with your headlights on
Use your wipers and defrosters
Use the right edge of the road as a guide
Check your speedometer
Avoid stopping on a busy road

Driving in heat

Summer driving has its hazards. Warmth and bright sunshine tend to increase driver and eye fatigue. Driving conditions that seem ideal can make drivers feel like nothing could go wrong. As a result, they pay less attention to the hazards around them.

Prepare your vehicle

Heat can put stress on many vehicle components. For example, burst tires are more common in hot weather. Before driving, check tire pressure and condition. Check that the radiator is filled with fluid. Make sure hoses, belts, and air conditioning are working properly. Clean the windshield.

Review our vehicle inspections checklist.

Prepare yourself

Follow these tips to reduce your risk:

Wear good driving glasses
Watch for animals
Wear appropriate clothing
Stay hydrated
Keep an emergency kit in your car
Take regular breaks
Avoid the worst heat
Plan your trip

Driving in snow and ice

Winter weather and road conditions push your driving skills to the limit. Adjusting your driving to the conditions you face can help reduce the risk of crashing. Reducing speed is just one of the steps that can help keep you safe on snowy or icy roads.

Hazards of snow and ice

Different types of snow on roads can challenge your driving abilities. Hard-packed snow can be as slippery as ice, making it hard for you to steer and stop. Wet snow can turn to slush that builds up in the wheel wells and affects your ability to steer. Slush and spray from other vehicles can also cause sudden loss of visibility.

Icy conditions can make it difficult to steer and stop. You have to watch out for yourself and for others sliding into your path.

Winter tires work better than other tires at temperatures below 7C. The critical zone for driving safety falls between 5C to -5C so keep an eye on the thermometer before heading out.

Also be aware of temperature transitions. The mercury can warm during the day only to cool in the afternoon. Temperatures can also warm or cool as elevation changes.

Winter driving safety tips

Your first line of defence is having 4 matched winter tires on your vehicle. Here are other tips to help you make it to your destination on snowy or icy roads.

Slow down to match conditions
Increase your following distance
Watch for black ice
Accelerate and brake slowly
Avoid sudden moves
Know how to handle a skid
See and be seen
Approach snowplows carefully
Clear snow and ice from your vehicle
Avoid steep hills
Use traction aids to free a stuck vehicle
Go slow in a blizzard

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