It’s perhaps no surprise then to find out that ICBC saw a spike in claims as Vancouver’s drivers struggled in the snow. In total, the corporation received 4,366 calls to its Dial-a-Claim service – that’s a 13% increase compared to the first Monday of December 2015.
Some 78% of those calls came from the Lower Mainland and, whilst not every call the service answers results in an actual claim, it’s clear the city saw its fair share of fender benders.
With more inclement weather in the forecast for Thursday, ICBC is calling on drivers to use caution when dealing with the snow.
“If you don’t feel confident about driving in winter conditions, staying off the road can be a less stressful and safer option,” the corporation said in a release.
“Instead of driving, you may want to consider taking public transit if available, carpooling with a friend who’s a confident driver, taking a taxi or working from home.”
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Driving in the snow
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.
- 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.