With the temperature starting to drop, drivers in Prince George and Northern BC will need to adjust their habits as road conditions differ this winter.

Photo courtesy of WorkSafe BC

WorkSafe BC is unveiling its Shift Into Winter Campaign for another year as they outline the “Do’s” and “Do Not’s” of winter driving.

The number of accidents rises gradually as the weather gets colder.

“If we look at the casualty crashes the last five years, we see that crashes from driving too fast for conditions doubles in December compared to October. In the last five years, we’ve seen an average of 246 crashes in December compared to 123 in October,” said Mark Ordeman, Occupational Road Safety Manager.

In Northern BC, casualty crashes double going from 16 to 34 during the same time period.

Ordeman adds the volume of workplace crashes and time loss claims spike across the province as well.

“The winter months November, December, and January sees a bit of a spike, more than 28% of all motor vehicle incidents with workers involved happen over that three months and we certainly see the same trend as the province sees generally.”

“That really is the case of the weather changing whether you’re in the Lower Mainland like I am where we get a lot of rain, fog and, some cold and then in Prince George of course, where we see snow and ice and terrible conditions on your roadways when winter happens.”

Once weather does become a factor for northern residents during the winter regardless of their reason for travel, Ordeman would like motorists to ask themselves one question before hitting the road.

“We ask that people consider if they need to take the trip in the first place if the weather is bad perhaps they can avoid that trip and arrange it another time, checking current road conditions obviously make a lot of sense and you can find out if they are safe to travel on Drive BC.”

Motorists across the north and in places like Prince George seem to have the misconception that they can go the same speed year-round in all four seasons without repercussion, Ordeman says this is also isn’t true.

“Once we’re inside a vehicle, once we’re inside that nice, warm cab it feels pretty safe and this is the opportunity to have sort of a disconnect between the conditions inside your vehicle and the conditions outside your vehicle. Definitely, the road conditions in wintertime regardless of where you are, in the province gives you more changes in terms of things that can go wrong, you have things like ice and snow, rain and cold road, which means the rubber on your tires get a little harder.”

“All of those things are at play.”

Since Monday, it became mandatory for drivers to put on their winter tires if they plan on travelling on provincial highways.