Glaring Fog Lamps

glaring fog lampsOne of the most common complaints I hear that is not about a moving violation concerns the use or misuse of lights on vehicles. Here is one of them: “What is really starting to annoy myself and many others is people driving with their fog lights on during clear nights or even during the day. Is this not an infraction? These lamps are often unreasonably bright.”

I agree with this reader, I also find many fog lamps unreasonably bright, even during the daytime. What’s to be done about it? The following information may help you to use these lights effectively and avoid causing problems for others.

First, let’s be sure we are all on the same page. Fog lamps are identified by the SAE F marking on the lens, or a B above the circle with the E in it on European lamps. In B.C. you are allowed two fog lamps that emit either white or amber light. They must be mounted on the front of the vehicle, below the headlamps, but not more than 30 cm below. When you switch them on, the parking lamps, tail lamps, licence plate lamp and, if required, clearance lamps must also illuminate.

Fog lamps may be used in place of headlamps if atmospheric conditions make the use of headlamps disadvantageous. Otherwise, fog lamps may be used at any time of the day or night and in fact are used as the daytime running lamps on some vehicles.

Vehicle lighting at the time of a vehicle’s manufacture is regulated by Transport Canada. Specifically, Technical Standards Document 108, which details construction, performance and location of lamps and reflectors.

Here in British Columbia, lighting use and maintenance is regulated in Division 4 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations. Essentially, it requires that the lights and reflectors that a vehicle was manufactured with must still be there and function as originally intended. Dimming of headlights and the times that vehicle lights must be used are also set out here.

I suspect that the unreasonable brightness comes from improper aim. Fog lamps must be adjusted and aimed so that, at a distance of 8 m from the lamp, the centre of the beam is at least 10 cm below the height of the fog lamp. Oddly enough, there is no tolerance specified as too low but anything higher than horizontal is too high.

There are other reasons that could contribute to problems. The use of LED replacement bulbs in housings designed for filament bulbs is one of them, along with using higher wattage filament bulbs than is intended. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure publishes an inspection and approval protocol for vehicle lighting to help inspection facilities decide what to pass.

It is a good guide to follow if you are considering making modifications to your vehicle’s lighting system.

Scott Marshall from Young Drivers of Canada has some good tips on using your vehicle’s lights and fog lights when the weather is bad in this video:

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

By Tom Fletcher | Victoria News

Private insurers say they would be happy to take B.C. Attorney General David Eby up on his challenge to compete with ICBC for optional insurance, if the Crown corporation would share its driver history information directly with them.

“ICBC denies other insurers access to a customer’s driving record and accident history, as well as to the claims information that all insurers need to price and sell auto insurance,” the Insurance Bureau of Canada said in a statement released Friday. “As the monopoly insurer in the province, ICBC holds this information and uses it to price its products.”

The private insurance industry group was responding to Eby’s comments last week about big increases for new drivers as ICBC moves to a new risk-based rate structure. Eby said the biggest increase in mandatory basic liability insurance new drivers will face is 12 per cent, or about $200 a year.

It’s the optional insurance, including collision repair, where younger drivers are facing the biggest increases, Eby said, and if private insurers believe they can do it at a lower price, “they should do so.”

Vehicle insurers make driver information available between companies everywhere else in Canada, including Quebec, where the government insurer shares driver data, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says. That’s why Quebec has more than 100 private insurers competing for optional insurance, and B.C. has “only two insurers that compete with ICBC in any meaningful sense.”

Eby has argued that drivers can retrieve their own driving records from ICBC online and take them to a private insurer to compare rates. Private insurers say that is the barrier that prevents better competition in B.C.

“If the Attorney General is suggesting that he will force ICBC to provide other insurers with the data they need to sell auto insurance in B.C., other insurers will gladly provide British Columbians with the choice they deserve,” the bureau said. “Given ICBC’s current performance, it’s a choice that’s desperately needed.”

Source:

Victoria News

How to winterize your RV

How to winterize your RV

Summer has come to an end and the camping season is over for most of us. Before you put your trailer or motorhome in storage, make sure you take the time to protect it for the winter.

While it seems like a lot of work, the extra effort you put in now will protect your vehicle from deterioration. With a little bit of elbow grease, your RV will last for many camping seasons to come.

Our 10-step RV winterizing guide

Supplies required:

  • RV antifreeze
  • wrench set
  • screwdriver set
  • wax / protectant
  • tire blocks / jacks
  • lubricant
  • dehumidifier/absorbent material (silica gel or something similar)
  • pressure washer (optional)
  • tarp (optional)

Step 1: Drain the water from your pipes

When the weather cools down, water will expand and crack your pipes. To stop this from happening, drain all the water from the heater, the tanks and water lines. Open all of your faucets while draining to remove all of the water completely from the system. Then, pump RV antifreeze into all of your tanks, lines and drains. Due to Canada’s subzero temperatures, it’s important to use RV antifreeze. Make sure it’s rated to -50 degrees Celsius.

Tip: Don’t have the time to winterize your RV by yourself? You can pay an RV store to do it for you.

Step 2: Check your seals

Leaky roofs can cause major problems to the inside of your RV. The best way to avoid problems is to inspect your seals and ensure that there are no leaks. This includes examining your roof, slide-outs and windows to look for any holes or leaks.

Tip: If you see water damage inside your RV, look above or beside the damage to find the leak.

Step 3: Remove your RV batteries

Winter and batteries don’t go well together. Unlike traditional vehicles, most RVs use lead-acid batteries – meaning that they are not sealed. If you plan on putting your RV in storage, take out your batteries and put them in a cool, dry place or on a charger. Remember to turn off all of your breaker switches 1st, before you disconnect your batteries.

Tip: Always disconnect your battery from the negative cable 1st.

Step 4: Protect your RV’s exterior

Clean the outside of your RV and inspect it for any cracks. Use an RV sealant to fix the crack(s) and let it dry completely. Then, apply a wax to protect your vehicle from the harsh Canadian winters.

Step 5: Protect your awning

This one is quick and easy, but nevertheless, important. Stop mold from growing on your awning by cleaning it thoroughly and allowing it to dry completely. Awnings are made of a fabric that’s easily susceptible to dirt, sap and mold. Make sure to clean yours well and give it a much longer life.

Step 6: Unhook your propane tanks

Whether you’re storing your RV inside or outside, we recommend removing your propane tanks 1st. Store them in a well-ventilated area in order to prevent rust or damage. Walk around inside your RV and take a minute to seal off the burners and pilot light on your stove and check for other areas where the scent of propane might linger. Nobody wants an RV that smells like propane!

Tip: You can find caps at your local hardware store to help you seal off the valves on your propane tank.

Step 7: Lubricate your locks and hinges

Letting your RV sit untouched for months can cause the locks and hinges to get sticky or stop working completely. Save yourself a hassle the next camping season and lubricate all of your locks and hinges right now.

Step 8: Clean your interior

Cleaning the interior of your RV is just as important as the exterior. A clean and sanitized interior can make a world of difference when it comes to avoiding unwanted smells and rodents from entering your RV. Beyond the general vacuuming and cleaning, we recommend that you:

  • clean kitchen sink
  • remove all food from the fridge and cupboards
  • leave fridge and cupboard doors propped open
  • remove valuables to discourage thieves from entering your RV
  • bleach all countertops
  • clean off outdoor stoves

Tip: Put some peppermint tea bags, air fresheners or dryer sheets inside your RV to keep it smelling great while in storage.

Step 9: Tarp, cover and moisture prevention

Some people protect their RVs from snow and wind by covering them with a tarp. However, we recommend exercising caution with tarps. Most tarps are made of non-breathable materials, and this can cause moisture to get trapped underneath – leading to rust. We recommend choosing a breathable fabric cover to prevent water and condensation. You should also wrap your trailer connector in a plastic or canvas bag. After covering your RV, you can add an extra level of protection to your RV by:

  • blocking the tires to prevent movement
  • covering RV tires
  • placing traps inside and around the vehicle to repel any unwanted critters
  • putting a humidifier in the RV to reduce the moisture or add a moisture absorber

Step 10: Contact your broker

You’re almost done! Now’s the time to let your insurance broker know that you’re putting your trailer in storage. Your SGI CANADA Auto Pak may cover damage caused to your RV while in storage – as long as you meet the conditions of your policy. Your broker can help you work through the conditions. Contact them today to find out more.

Sources:
https://www.premiercoachworks.com/preparing-your-rv-or-travel-trailer-for-winter-hibernation/
https://www.tripsavvy.com/storing-your-rv-for-the-winter-505134

9 Steps to take to winterize your RV

ICBC encourages drivers to be prepared for changing road conditions over the Thanksgiving long weekend

ICBC encourages drivers to be prepared for changing road conditions over the Thanksgiving long weekend

As British Columbians get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, ICBC is advising drivers that they may encounter challenging road conditions as they travel throughout the province.

The Thanksgiving long weekend has historically been one of the more dangerous long weekends on B.C. roads with an average of 2,200 crashes, nearly 700 people injured and four killed.*

It’s only a few weeks into fall and snow has already blanketed parts of B.C. As of October 1st, winter tires or chains are mandatory on many B.C. highways, including Highway 99 from Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton, the Malahat portion of Highway 1 on Vancouver Island, and most highways throughout the southern interior and northern B.C.

Keep in mind the following tips to stay safe:

  • Plan your route ahead of time. Check weather and road conditions on drivebc.ca before you get behind the wheel. Take long weekend traffic into account and allow extra time to get to your destination.

  • Check your tires. Winter tires or chains are now required on many B.C. highways. Winter tires are labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M&S designation). Also, make sure your tires have adequate tread and are properly inflated.

  • Slow down on wet roads. Allow yourself at least twice the normal braking distance on wet, slippery roads or on roads covered in leaves. Keep in mind that posted speed limits are intended for ideal conditions.

  • Put your phone away. Focus on the road, minimize distractions and pay attention to your surroundings.

  • Watch for pedestrians and cyclists. Daylight steadily decreases with each passing day in October and it can be difficult to see pedestrians and cyclists, especially around intersections.

Regional statistics:

  • About 520 people are injured in 1,400 crashes in the Lower Mainland over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

  • About 84 people are injured in 290 crashes on Vancouver Island over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

  • About 58 people are injured in 300 crashes in the Southern Interior over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

  • About 19 people are injured in 140 crashes in North Central B.C. over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

*Thanksgiving weekend crashes are calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday. Crash and injury data is ICBC data (5-year average, 2014 – 2018). Fatality data is provided by police (5-year average, 2013-2017).

Canadian Federation of Independent Business joins Driving Choice campaign

VANCOUVER, Oct. 8, 2019 /CNW/ – Driving Choice is pleased to announce that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has joined as a partner of the campaign calling for more choice and competition in auto insurance in British Columbia (BC).

Like most drivers, business owners are fed up. A recent survey of independent businesses in BC found 75% want ICBC’s monopoly to end. They want a choice in where they buy auto insurance and want to have the ability to shop around to find savings – just like the vast majority of other Canadians.

“It’s time drivers and small businesses in British Columbia had the ability to choose the auto insurance provider that’s right for them,” said Aaron Aerts, Western Canada economist with the CFIB. “The Driving Choice campaign is a great initiative that gives businesses and drivers a voice to spur meaningful change in the province. It’s time for ICBC to compete for its business.”

CFIB joins more than 5,000 British Columbians who have already signed on in support of the Driving Choice campaign since its launch in mid-September.

“The overwhelming majority of drivers in BC have stated clearly that they want more choice in auto insurance,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “With CFIB joining the Driving Choice campaign, it’s clear small businesses want the same.”

Under ICBC’s monopoly, BC drivers pay the highest auto insurance rates in Canada, yet receive a level of benefits similar to drivers in other provinces when they make a claim. In Alberta, drivers pay over $500 less on average for the same level of coverage.

While the BC government is reforming the product, ICBC is still projecting that it will raise rates by $1.74 billion over the next three years. Driving Choice is giving British Columbians a voice so they can let their MLAs know they want choice in auto insurance.

To join Driving Choice and make your voice heard, contact your MLA through www.drivingchoice.ca. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Additional resources

About Driving Choice
Driving Choice is a non-partisan campaign seeking to provide a voice to British Columbians who want more choice in auto insurance. Canadian auto insurers are eager to compete dollar-for-dollar with ICBC and believe they can sell the same auto insurance for less. If other auto insurers could save drivers money, why not let them? Change will only occur if drivers – and taxpayers – make their voices heard. Join Driving Choice and speak up to demand choice from your MLAs.

About Canadian Federation of Independent Business
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest non-profit organization devoted to creating and supporting an environment where business can succeed. Since 1971, the organization has advocated on behalf of small businesses with politicians and decision makers.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, contributes $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @IBC_West and like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Vanessa Barrasa, Manager, Media Relations, 416-362-2031 ext. 4312, vbarrasa@ibc.ca

Related Links

www.ibc.ca

Big insurance-price jumps for out-of-province drivers

The excerpredted article was written by Andrew Duffy | Times Colonist

Some part-time B.C. residents are in for sticker shock when they go to renew their vehicle insurance, thanks to new regulations brought into force in September.

Under the new rules, aimed at helping Insurance Corp. of B.C. to improve its finances, part-time B.C. residents who hold a driver’s licence from another jurisdiction will no longer qualify for driver-experience discounts.

Some part-time B.C. residents are in for sticker shock when they go to renew their vehicle insurance, thanks to new regulations brought into force in September.

Under the new rules, aimed at helping Insurance Corp. of B.C. to improve its finances, part-time B.C. residents who hold a driver’s licence from another jurisdiction will no longer qualify for driver-experience discounts.

MacLeod, who splits his time between his home in Hamilton, Ont., and the Salt Spring home he bought in 2007, said the provincial government is taking a run at those not considered B.C. residents.

“This is simply another whack at the people who did not take the hint with the speculation tax that the Horgan government does not want anyone in B.C. who is not a full-time resident,” he said. “I was absolutely horrified by this [increase], and even the $1,008 I paid last year was an increase of about 20 per cent.”

MacLeod dodged the speculation tax when, after criticism that the tax unfairly hit B.C. residents, Finance Minister Carole James announced it would be changed to exclude areas such as the Gulf Islands and Parksville-Qualicum.

But he couldn’t dodge the insurance changes. At 72, MacLeod, who has been driving since 1963, was told he would no longer be eligible to claim an experienced driver discount and would face a hike.

He paid his insurance bill, but increased his deductible to $2,500, from $500, which dropped his bill to $2,312.

“But now I am assuming $2,000 in liability I didn’t have last year,” he said, adding he is now paying more for insurance for a used Subaru than he does for his Corvette convertible back in Ontario, despite a clean driving record and no tickets.

Despite repeated requests, no one from ICBC or the Attorney General’s Ministry was made available to comment.

The changes stem from ICBC’s switch from a vehicle-based insurance model to a driver-based one. Without holding a B.C. driver’s licence, non-residents used to be able to benefit from discounts based on how long they had insured their vehicles in B.C., but ICBC is now using a driver-based model that relies on driving experience in B.C.

In hopes of having ICBC review the situation, MacLeod signed a disclosure agreement waiving his privacy rights, which allowed ICBC to comment on his policy rate.

But it’s unclear why an experienced driver from another jurisdiction in Canada wouldn’t be able to provide a provincial record or abstract to be able to claim an experience discount, or how many drivers could be affected by the change.

Drivers such as MacLeod have been advised, instead, to purchase a storage policy for when the vehicle isn’t in use and purchase short-term policies for when it is.

MacLeod said he and his wife spend about three months a year in B.C., and intend to continue to do so. “The smart thing is to sell the place and go and buy a place in Muskoka I guess, but I don’t want to do that.

“We like it here. We have friends here and are part of a community.”

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