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Transportation, Weather, Life

12 tips for driving in the snow in Vancouver

DH Vancouver Staff Dec 05, 2016 2:54 am 10,475

Vancouverites woke up Monday morning to a city covered in beautiful snow – but let’s be honest it, once the initial excitement has worn off all that’s left is the realization that the roads are a slushy nightmare.

Of course, it’s all very nice to suggest you take transit instead, but the huge lineups at bus stops and SkyTrain stations are ridiculous.

Maybe you could walk, maybe you could work from home, maybe your classes are cancelled. But driving may be your only option.

So here are some tips from ICBC on how to drive in the snow and how to prep your car for winter. Safe driving!

  • Consider carpooling – Maybe carpool with a friend whose car is prepared and is a confident driver, or at least wait until the road conditions have improved.
  • Prep your car – Use winter tires or chains for snow and ice, and check conditions for your whole route on Drive BC before heading out. Here’s how to install snow chains:

  • Do a pre-trip check – Check your tire pressure, which drops fast in the cold. Keep the gas tank at least half-full to avoid freezing, and top up your windshield wiper fluid.
  • Pack an emergency kit – Use an emergency kit for items like blankets and food, in case you get stranded or stuck and have to wait for roadside assistance.
  • Clear snow off your car – Clear any snow off the car’s roof, headlights and wheel wells. If not, this can affect your ability to see and steer when it melts or falls off later.
  • Drive slow and steady – Avoid sudden movements. Accelerate gently, steer and turn gradually, and brake slowly and early. Plan turns, stops and lane changes early.
  • Lights and brakes – Use low beam lights and don’t use cruise control. For standard brakes, pump them gently, for ABS, apply steady pressure.
  • Careful of black ice – Black ice often forms as snow begins to melt during warmer hours in shaded areas. Slow down and keep your distance from other cars.
  • If you start to skid – Slow down and look and steer smoothly where you want to go. Don’t over-steer or brake, this could make it worse. Repeat until you regain control.
  • Dealing with slush – Watch out for ridges of slush that can build up between lanes. Change lanes in the least slushy spot, signal well ahead of time and move slowly.
  • Highway maintenance vehicles – Use extreme caution around highway maintenance vehicles, including plows, salt and sand trucks. Never pass on the right.
  • Have an emergency plan – If you get stuck, stay calm and with your car for safety. If it’s an emergency, call 911. Otherwise, call for roadside assistance.
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