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Drivers urged to ‘Shift into Winter’ when heading out on B.C. roads

With changing seasons, Shift into Winter is reminding drivers of winter safety

Most people who have driven through tough Canadian winters have had that moment, when they’re suddenly – and terrifyingly aware – that they’ve lost control of the vehicle. Some folks might’ve been fortunate to regain control while others weren’t so lucky — Shift into Winter’s campaign hopes to draw attention to the hazards of winter driving, to mitigate those moments.

This year is the 14th annual year of the Shift into Winter campaign, which is supported by the Winter Driving Safety Alliance and managed by Road Safety at Work (RSAW). B.C. residents have had to have their winter tires on since Oct. 1, but there are other things that the Shift into Winter campaign wants B.C. drivers to remember heading into winter. As the weather transitions into colder overnight temperatures and higher precipitation, Shift into Winter wants drivers to consider several other things.

“No matter how much experience you have, driving in rain, fog, snow, or icy conditions can be treacherous in Revelstoke and around the Columbia–Shuswap region,” said campaign spokesperson Trace Acres, program director for RSAW in a press release.

The campaign wants to make drivers aware of five simple reminders.

•First, the campaign recommends drivers prepare themselves, including taking the time at the beginning of the season to remind yourself about winter driving habits.

•Second, drivers should prepare their vehicles. The campaign recommends drivers ensure their anti-freeze is topped up, tire pressure is at recommended amount, and brakes are in good shape. Drivers should also ensure their wipers, lights, and engine belts are ready for the winter. The campaign also suggests drivers keep an emergency kit in their car, which often have blankets, jumper cables, and first aid supplies.

•Third, the campaign asks drivers to take the time to look at the road conditions to and from their destinations before they go. Conditions may still change, but planning the best route ahead of time can help mitigate risk.

•Fourth, drivers must slow down and increase following distance, and always be prepared to change their speed according to the conditions.

•Fifth and finally, drivers should be careful and slower in acceleration and braking. Slow control is the best way to avoid losing traction on slick roads.

“With the changing seasons come changing road and highway conditions. Many of our highways can experience challenging winter driving conditions,” said Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure in a press release.

For more information, including winter driving statistics and more driving tips, visit the Shift into Winter website.

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