During winter months, Mainroad Contracting crews patrol Island highways 24/7, as well as applying brine and de-icing salt. Black Press file photo

Be prepared for the unpredictability of fall and winter weather, North Island highway contractor says

Shift into winter and slow down

Everyone needs to prepared for the unpredictability of fall and winter weather, don’t wait until weather conditions deteriorate. the contractor responsible for maintaining North Island highways says

Whether you’re driving across town, or across the province, it’s important that you and your vehicle are prepared for winter driving conditions, a press release from Mainroad says.

Conditions change. So should your speed. Shift into winter and slow down. During winter, road conditions change fast. The posted speed limit is the maximum speed under ideal driving conditions.

RELATED: Nearly half of B.C. drivers nervous in winter conditions: BCAA

So, when the winter weather hits, slow down and increase your following distance. Look ahead and keep at least four seconds between you and the vehicle in front. This will allow room if you need to brake suddenly on a slippery surface. Even the most experienced drivers can’t predict how their vehicle will react in rain, snow or on ice, Mainroad says.

Prepare your vehicle for winter driving. Here’s what you can do to get your vehicle winter ready:

• Every year give your vehicle a pre-season maintenance check-up. Check your battery, fluids, wipers, lights, brakes and heating.

• Make sure your vehicle is equipped with a first-aid and winter survival kit.

• Install a set of four matched winter tires. Winter tires with the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol offer the best traction for faster stopping time and shorter stopping distance in cold weather, snow, rain and on ice. All-season tires with the M+S (Mud and Snow) symbol offer better traction than summer tires and meet the minimum legal requirement for a winter tire. But, in severe winter conditions, they are less effective than the three-peaked mountain and snowflake tires.

Prepare yourself for winter driving:

• Know how to drive for the conditions before you get behind the wheel. Even the most experienced drivers can’t predict how their vehicle will react in rain, snow or on ice.

• Slow down to match road conditions. The posted speed limit is the maximum speed under ideal driving conditions.

• Maintain a safe following distance. Look ahead and keep at least four seconds of distance between you and the car in front.

• Know how to brake safely and get out of a skid.

• Know before you go. If you have to travel, Shift into Winter and always check weather and travel conditions before heading out at DriveBC.ca. If the conditions are bad or worsening, avoid travelling. Even an hour or two can make a difference.

If you have to travel follow these safe driving tips:

1. Make sure your vehicle is winter ready

2. Take the safest route

3. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination

4. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive

5. If you get stuck, stay with your vehicle

If you see an issue on North Island Highways, report it, 24 hours a day, to 1-877-215-7122.

RELATED: B.C. raising highway maintenance standards for winter driving

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