When the temperature drops, winter driving doesn’t just mean snow and ice…on the wet coast it’s also heavy rain, fog, poor visibility, lack of daylight, and even high wind conditions. Driving in any weather condition can be scary – here’s a few actions & tips to plan a safe journey.
- Before you go, check the current road conditions and weather forecast. Check radio or TV reports and always visit Drive BC | www.drivebc.ca for the latest updates. Ask yourself – is it safe to go?
- Travelling on BC Ferries? For the current conditions, visit bcferries.com or check @BCFerries on Twitter.
- Keep a firm grip on the wheel. Strong wind gusts are unpredictable and can be strong enough to cause the steering wheel to jerk out of your hands.
- Look ahead and watch for debris on the road. High winds can even cause debris to be thrown directly into your path. By keeping a look out, you will give yourself more time to deal with the situation.
- Be prepared for sudden changes in wind strength when passing wind-blocking structures like underpasses, buildings, or next to large vehicles. The sudden absence of wind can surprise you, causing you to suddenly over steer against the direction the wind had been coming from and lose control.
- Watch out for other dangerous weather up the road. Strong winds can be an indication of other adverse weather, so be alert to deal with possible harsher road conditions. Be proactive and listen to local weather updates on your radio.
- Avoid using cruise control so you can better manage your vehicle’s speed.
- Leave yourself plenty of space when travelling alongside larger vehicles like buses or semi-trucks. The wind has more room to push harder on large vehicles, which increases the difficulty of handling these types of vehicles.
- Consider pulling over and waiting. If you’re driving a large vehicle like a van, pick-up truck with canopy or pulling a trailer and encounter a storm with high winds, try to find a safe place to pull over and wait for the storm to blow over.
- Never try to approach or drive across a down power line. Remain at least three metres (10 feet away) from power lines. That means above, below, and beside.
During a windstorm, Mainroad crews will be patrolling Service Area highways for down trees and vegetation on the road however it will take some time to clear a down power line so check DriveBC for updates. Mainroad will coordinate with BC Hydro to determine when the area is safe. Call 911 to immediately report a fallen power line. Avoid touching anything, such as a car, object or equipment, or anyone who is in contact with a fallen power line. Keep children and pets away from fallen electric lines.
To report highway debris, pooling water, and other changing road conditions, please contact Mainroad’s 24-hour public information hotline.
For more winter driving tips visit www.shiftintowinter.ca