Whether travelling around town or across the province for Thanksgiving gatherings this long weekend, ICBC is urging drivers to be prepared for seasonal changes that could create adverse road conditions.
B.C. sees about 2,000 crashes every Thanksgiving long weekend that, on average, result in 600 injuries and four fatalities.
ICBC offers the following tips for drivers:
Plan your route ahead of time. The weather can be unpredictable on highways and at higher elevations; plan ahead to make your trip as safe as possible. Check road and weather conditions before your trip at drivebc.ca. With more holiday weekend traffic, allow extra time to get to your destination.
Check if you need winter tires. Drivers are required to use winter tires on some B.C. highways. Winter tires are labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M&S designation).
Slow down on wet roads. Allow yourself at least twice the normal braking distance on wet and slippery roads or on roads covered in leaves to give yourself time to stop. The posted speed limits are only intended for ideal conditions.
Check your tires to avoid hydroplaning. Tires with lower tread depth and low pressure are more likely to hydroplane. To prevent hydroplaning, check your tires for proper tread and inflation, scan ahead for large puddles and reduce your speed, especially during heavy rain.
Watch for pedestrians. With shorter days and reduced visibility, be vigilant around intersections and watch for pedestrians. October marks the first month of the season where crashes involving pedestrians peak. In addition to pedestrians, be on the lookout for cyclists and other road users.
About 450 people are injured in 1,300 crashes in the Lower Mainland over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
About 75 people are injured in 260 crashes on Vancouver Island over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
About 52 people are injured in 290 crashes in the Southern Interior over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
About 18 people are injured in 140 crashes in North Central B.C. over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Is summer over already? It seems that the lawn is just coming out of dormancy in my yard but night time temperatures have dipped below 7 degrees. That and the fact that it is October the first means that it’s time to get winter tires installed. Winter tire and chain up routes are now in effect.
I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford a set of four winter tires, wheels and tire pressure sensors for both of our vehicles. I feel strongly enough about the effectiveness of using true winter tires instead of all season tires that I consider the cost money well spent.I have a set of chains for my two wheel drive pickup truck in addition to the four winter tires. I’ve been stuck with it before trying to drive on the greasy wet snow that quickly packs and polishes to ice here on the Island and that’s not going to happen again!
Studded winter tires are also a good choice, especially on black ice, but remember that if you have a front wheel drive vehicle you must purchase a set of four studded winter tires.
Having said that, I’ve also spent a few winters here with only all season tires on the vehicle and even with four wheel drive did occasionally have trouble. The all season tires did meet the definition of winter tires for the purposes of the signs posted on our highways by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure each year.
However, they are a trade off, both in terms of cost and performance. No one tire can handle all road conditions equally well, and this is true of winter tires being used in the summer.
The M+S marking on an all season tire tells us about the tread design. It has no connection with the rubber compound used to make the tread and it’s ability to stick to snow and ice.
Speaking of tread, winter tires are considered to be worn out when their minimum tread depth is twice that of summer or all season tires. Even then, the minimum tread depth may not be enough to keep you safe.
Most people think of winter tires in terms of traction to move the vehicle ahead. This is only part of the equation as true winter tires also help you turn and brake. Michelin has produced a video titled Winter Driving Tips on Braking that illustrates steering control difficulties created by mis-matched tires and how winter tires work with current vehicle safety systems.
You’ve probably heard it many times before, but adequate tires are not the only thing that you should consider having for winter driving. Being prepared for trouble with a shovel, tow rope, washer fluid, extra winter clothing, tools and a collection of small spare parts is never a bad idea.
You can’t always blame the road maintenance. There are some situations that even the best winter tires and chains cannot conquer. Know before you gois always good advice because sometimes the best choice is not to travel at all. Few of us must make trips in bad weather conditions that are more important than our health and well being.
Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, describing the suggestion of deciding fault for a collision based in part on a motorist’s past driving convictions as ‘frivolous’.
In today’s case (Rezai v. Uddin) the Plaintiff was a pedestrian involved in a collision with the Defendant. Fault was disputed. Prior to trial the Plaintiff sought to amend her pleadings to allege “The Defendant Driver had on several previous occasions driven in a manner that put pedestrians and motorists at risk of injury” based on
a. on Nov. 27, 2008, the defendant was charged with speeding, for which he plead guilty;
b. on Dec. 4, 2008, the defendant was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian on a green light, for which he plead guilty;
c. on December 5, 2008, the defendant was charged with entering an intersection when the light was red for which he plead guilty;
d. on March 11, 2009, the defendant was charged with speeding, for which he plead guilty;
e. on January 17, , the defendant was charged with using an electronic device while driving. He failed to appear at the hearing and was deemed not to dispute the charge.
The court rejected this request noting that past convictions likely do not constitute similar fact evidence. In dismissing the application Master Wilson provided the following reasons:
 The parties agree that there is no British Columbia authority on the issue of whether a pleading alleging similar fact evidence in the context of a prior driving record should be allowed in British Columbia. The defendant refers me to some Ontario authorities in support of his position that such pleadings are improper.
 In Wilson v. Lind, (1985) 35 C.C.L.T. 95, O’Brien J. struck from the pleadings allegations of prior or subsequent impaired driving by the defendant. The application was brought on the basis that the allegations were prejudicial, scandalous or an abuse of process, a rule akin to our R. 9-5(1). At paragraph 12 the court held the following:
Our Courts have held for a long time, and for good reason, that prior negligence of a party is generally irrelevant to proof of subsequent negligence. …
 I note that of the five driving infractions in our case, only two of them are for the same offence, namely speeding. Both were over five years old at the time of the accident. Indeed four of the five convictions were over five years old, with the fifth occurring some months after the accident. The defendant was not issued a violation ticket arising out of the accident.
 The only possible purpose for Similar Fact Pleading here, given the variety of infractions, would be to enable the plaintiff to suggest that the defendant is a generally bad driver based on his driving record. However, this does not inform the analysis of whether or not he was responsible for the subject accident, any more than a clean driving record would tend to absolve him of responsibility.
 It is highly improbable that the trial judge would admit the defendant’s prior infractions as similar fact evidence to support a finding of liability on the part of the defendant. Evidence of prior speeding infractions does not lead to the inference that the defendant was speeding at the time of the accident. Drivers often speed without receiving violation tickets. Proof of speeding does not conclusively establish negligence in the case of an accident. In Hamm Estate v. JeBailey (1974), 12 N.S.R. (2d) 27, evidence of driving record and habits was held to be irrelevant and inadmissible for the purpose of determining liability.
 In Witten v. Bhardwaj,  O.J. No. 1769, the court was asked to strike certain portions of a statement of claim that also involved a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. The plaintiff had pleaded that the defendant had a ‘pattern of reckless conduct’ that included multiple speeding offences. The allegations of speeding in the Witten case were a year before and a year after the accident in issue.
 After reviewing the decision of Wilson v. Lind, Master Haberman said that there were only two purposes for the plea about the defendant’s driving record and held the plea should be struck regardless of which applied:
The plaintiff’s purpose in including these additional allegations about Paawan’s driving patterns could only involve one of two issues: 1) to enable the plaintiff to ask the court to rely on Paawan’s driving record when assessing whether he was likely speeding at the time of this accident; or, 2) to provide “colour” for the court, so that Paawan will be viewed as a bad driver generally, and hence, be seen as likely responsible for this accident. If the former, what the plaintiff seeks to plead in the impugned portion of paragraph 15 is clearly evidence, not material fact, and on that basis should be struck. If the latter, it is frivolous and should be struck.
 I agree. The Similar Fact Pleading is either evidence and therefore improper to include in a pleading, or is intended to suggest that the defendant is generally a bad driver and therefore he is more likely to be the cause of the subject accident, in which case it is frivolous.
SGI News Release
Has this ever happened to you? You’re entering a construction zone and the lane you’re in will be closing, so you signal and merge into the continuing lane. Meanwhile, the driver who was previously behind you keeps going in the original lane and merges into the continuing lane at the last minute, well ahead of you. What’s up with that? Is that a fair move?
Yes – that driver was simply doing a zipper merge, which allows drivers to use both lanes until the closing lane ends, then alternate in a ‘zipper’ fashion into the open lane. Vehicles in the closing lane must signal, shoulder check and merge when safe, and each driver in the open lane should let in one vehicle.
“Saskatchewan, it is time to officially embrace the zipper merge,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice President of the Auto Fund. “Some people think zipper-merging is rude, but it’s not. When a lane is closing, slowing down to change lanes well ahead of the merge point slows traffic unnecessarily, and can cause congestion.”
Zipper merging benefits all drivers in both lanes, making traffic flow more quickly and efficiently. It also creates fairness and eliminates the stress of the ‘other’ lane moving faster than yours, as everyone can now travel at the same speed. If everyone is courteous and cooperative (courtesy waves encouraged), everyone will zip through quickly!
A new section featuring zipper merges is featured in the latest edition of the Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook. The Handbook is updated and re-printed each fall. The Handbook isn’t just a study guide to pass the learner’s licence exam; it’s a fantastic resource for all drivers, no matter their age or driving experience.
Other new information in this year’s edition:
- Tougher impaired driving and cellphone laws that came into effect Jan. 1, 2017
- Best practice is for hand positions at “9 and 3” or “8 and 4” on the steering wheel, not “10 and 2”
- Tow trucks can have blue and amber flashing lights; slow to 60 when lights are flashing
- Addition of “in-laws” to family members who can ride with new drivers
- Jaywalkers – you should always be prepared to stop if a jaywalker enters your path. But don’t wave them on or encourage them as the car behind or beside you may not see them.
- Right of way in parking lots – rules of the road to follow when it comes to thoroughfares and feeder lanes
The Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook is available online, or you can pick up a printed version at any SGI motor licence issuer or driver exam office.