As many drivers on Vancouver Island woke to find frost covering their vehicles this week, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, as well as ICBC, urged British Columbians to prepare ahead for winter storms this year.
In December 2018, a windstorm knocked out power to 600,000 households in B.C. for an extended period of time, leaving many on Vancouver Island in the cold and dark over Christmas.
“As you pull out winter clothing or holiday decorations, think about whether your household is ready for severe winter weather,” Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice said. “Do you have a winterized road safety kit in your vehicle? Do you have flashlights and candles in case of a lengthy power outage? Preparing for these hazards now will mean smoother sailing in the event of an emergency.”
ICBC also warns each year on the Island, the number of crashes where at least one person is injured or killed increases by 55 per cent from October to December. The agency suggests locals ensure car tires are rated for the conditions, and check the pressure often as pressure drops in cold weather; use headlights and taillights whenever visibility is poor; and check car windshields for ice before driving – if there’s buildup on the windshield it’s likely there’s black ice on the roads.
The Ministry of Public Safety said motorists should check DriveBC for up-to-date road conditions, and encourages them to carry an emergency kit in their vehicle including warm clothes, winter footwear, food and water, a shovel, a flashlight and a fully charged cellphone for emergency calls.
Residents are also urged to prepare for the possibility of extreme cold and power outages. Households are encouraged to develop an emergency plan and prepare an emergency kit, including food. The Ministry of Public Safety recommends locals keep an eye out for Environment Canada arctic outflow warnings, and in the event of one limit time spent outdoors as there’s an increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
Additionally, the ministry suggests wearing clothes appropriate to the weather conditions. It said dressing in layers with a water and wind proof outer layer and covering as much exposed skin as possible offers flexibility for changing conditions. It also suggests trying to stay dry, and changing out of wet clothes as soon as possible.
Before you drive, visit drivebc.ca to check conditions. To check Environment Canada for extreme weather warnings, visit weather.gc.ca/warnings/. For more winter driving tips, visit shiftintowinter.ca/drive-for-the-conditions/.
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