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Car Care: Here's how to prepare yourself for winter driving

Follow these tips to get yourself ready for the road when winter weather hits

The snow is flying around British Columbia, and even if you aren’t planning on leaving the city, chances are the white stuff will hit Vancouver roads sooner or later. Are you ready?

Even the most experienced drivers on the North Shore can find winter driving challenging. To help keep yourself safe, consider postponing driving when road and weather conditions are poor.

If travelling is essential, planning ahead could help prevent problems when you’re behind the wheel for pleasure or work. The Shift Into Winter awareness campaign aims to encourage drivers to change their driving behaviour by adopting winter safe driving practices.

Travel during daylight, if possible, and know these basic winter driving steps before you go:

• Slow down to match road conditions

• Maintain a safe following distance (at least four seconds)

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

Here are some other tips to prepare yourself for winter driving

Plan your route

Check DriveBC for the latest highway conditions, highway cams, and weather forecasts. You can also call 1-800-550-4997 for road information 24 hours a day. Select the safest route and give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive.

Check your phone

Make sure it’s charged before leaving. Bring a charger since cell batteries can drain quickly in very cold weather. Don’t use your phone while driving for any reason. And don’t leave it in the car for extended periods of time.

Wear comfortable clothing

You don’t want it to restrict your movement while driving. Bring warm winter boots, coat, gloves, and a hat with you in case you need to get out of your vehicle.

Have an emergency kit and plan

Always carry an emergency kit. Don’t panic if you get stuck or stranded. Stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth. Open your window slightly to make sure you have a supply of fresh air. Call for roadside assistance or 911 if it’s an emergency. Avoid overexertion and exposure.

Clear and warm up your vehicle before driving

Scrape snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors, the hood, and the roof. Wait for windows to defrost completely for visibility.

The Shift Into Winter campaign is managed by Road Safety at Work with support from WorkSafeBC, the provincial government, the Justice Institute of BC, the BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, and ICBC. For more information visit ShiftIntoWinter.ca.