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.
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).
Are some of us such sloppy drivers that we can’t even stay between the lines on the highway? I was driving home from work tonight and met a pickup truck completely onto my side of the double solid line in a set of winding curves. Was the driver not paying attention or was he so intent on not slowing down that he straightened out the corners to avoid braking? I suspect that it was the latter.
One of the first things that we learn when we drive is that we drive on the right half of a two lane road and may only use the other half in limited circumstances. These circumstances are defined by the law and do not include driver convenience as in situations like the one I described. Our trust that the other drivers will remain where they are supposed to be is central to using the highway safely.
The simplest road does not have any lines painted on it. The rule I mentioned in the last paragraph still applies, you must drive on your half unless it is not practical to do. You will have to be able to justify that impracticality if you find yourself in traffic court disputing a ticket or civil court following a collision.
On most of our highways, road maintenance includes a fresh coat of paint on the lines. If it didn’t matter what the lines meant there would only be one type of line, or no line at all. You would be free to judge that you were in your own half of the highway. However, it does matter, and drivers must be aware of what the lines mean and follow their requirement.
On highways with multiple lanes for our direction of travel we need to stay consistently within the lane that we have chosen to use.
Lines that you must obey may be on your left and on your right when you are driving, even when there is only one lane for each direction. Believe it or not, that solid white line at the right edge of the roadway defines where you are supposed to drive. Keep to the left of it.
Here are some tips to help you maintain proper lane position:
Look well ahead at the center of the lane that you are driving in
Keep your hands level on the steering wheel
Keep your grip on the steering wheel relaxed but grip tightly enough for control
Do not focus exclusively on the vehicle in front of you, keep your eyes moving
Do not focus on the edges of the road just in front of your vehicle
Establish reference points for the edges of the road in relation to the front of your vehicle when it is properly positioned
Maintain sufficient and equal tire pressure
Maintain proper wheel alignment for your vehicle
This YouTube video is a good review of the driving actions to follow for proper lane position. The only issue that I have with it is that you are advised to hold the steering wheel at 10 and 2. This is no longer recognized as the best choice due to the driver’s airbag.
Distracted driving is responsible for more than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads, which is why ICBC, police and government continue to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 77 lives each year.*
Crashes reached a record high in 2017, with many of these caused by distracted or inattentive driving. While cellphone usage rightly gets a lot of the attention, distracted driving includes any activity that impacts your ability to focus on the road while in control of a vehicle.
The B.C. government, police and ICBC conduct two distracted driving education and enhanced enforcement campaigns every year. The campaigns also include advertising and social media support.
This month, drivers will be hearing one message – take a break from your phone when you’re behind the wheel. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for as little as two seconds is strongly correlated with crashing.
Enhanced police enforcement of distracted driving will take place across B.C., including a province-wide blitz on Friday, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone when driving.
Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving and encouraging others to do the same. Activate Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or what’s similarly available on other devices. Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.
As part of the commitment to make roads safer, ICBC is currently inviting eligible drivers to participate in a telematics pilot project. The goal is to determine whether using this technology can improve road safety and driving behaviour for inexperienced drivers in B.C.
Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
“Distracted driving is the number one cause of serious crashes in our province and it continues to be a growing safety concern. To combat this problem, police will be out on the road – in every community – making sure people leave their phones alone while driving.”
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Public Affairs
“Our telematics pilot project will help us better understand the role that technology can play in reducing distraction and preventing crashes for inexperienced drivers. But safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to focus on the road and leave their phones alone. Let’s all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C.”
Every year, on average, 27 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.
Every year, on average, 10 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.
Every year, on average, 28 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.
Every year, on average, 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.
*Police data from 2013 to 2017. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.
Next week, children and adults return to school and work which creates congestion on our roads. ICBC is asking drivers to leave extra travel time, stay focused on the road and watch for children especially around school zones.
Every year, 380 children are injured in crashes while walking or cycling and five are killed throughout the province.*
Police and Speed Watch volunteers will be closely monitoring drivers’ speeds in school zones to help children get a safe start to the school year.
Parents are encouraged to review ICBC’s tip sheet with their children and go over their daily route to and from school with them.
ICBC’s tips for drivers:
If you drop off your child in a school zone, allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.
If a vehicle’s stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.
Watch for school buses and when their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.
Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.
In residential areas, a hockey net or ball can mean that kids are playing nearby. Watch for children as they could dash into the street at any moment.
Remember that every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In playground zones, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect every day from dawn to dusk.
ICBC provides free road safety educational materials to B.C. schools to help students from kindergarten to grade 10 learn about road safety topics unique to their grade level using fun and interactive activities.
Editor’s note: Local road safety coordinators across the province are available for interviews. Please contact Lindsay Wilkins.
In the Lower Mainland, 300 children walking or cycling are involved in crashes every year.
In Vancouver, 61 children walking or cycling are involved in crashes every year.
On Vancouver Island, 65 children walking or cycling are involved in crashes every year.
In Victoria, 12 children walking or cycling are involved in crashes every year.
In the Southern Interior, 49 children walking or cycling are involved in crashes every year.
In Kelowna, 17 children walking or cycling are involved in crashes every year.
In North Central B.C., 16 children walking or cycling are involved in crashes every year.
Notes about the data:
Children defined as age five to 18. Pedestrian includes a person in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy. This includes rollerblades, a skateboard, scooter, unicycle or similar wheeled device.
*Crash and injury averages based on 2014 to 2018 data reported by ICBC. Fatal averages based on 2013 to 2017 police-reported data.
In collaboration with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force (KRPF) today launched …
85 per cent of everyone who walks, cycles or drives agree that road rage continues to be a serious problem (up two per cent from 2018)
51 per cent of cyclists (up three per cent from 2018), 20 per cent of drivers and 19 per cent of pedestrians feel unsafe on the streets of the GTA. Even more telling among cyclists age 18 and older, 57 percent feel unsafe (up 9 per cent from 2018)
36 per cent of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians believe that the city needs to invest more in driver, pedestrian and cyclist education to make our streets safer
56 per cent of GTA residents admit that they are simply not familiar enough with what the city is doing to prioritize road safety
TORONTO, June 5, 2019 /CNW/ – In the city of Toronto, road rage continues to worsen at an unprecedented rate. According to a recent TruceTO survey commissioned by RSA Canada, over 85 per cent of GTA road users who walk, drive or cycle all agree that it’s a serious problem – that’s only getting worse – which is causing a great deal of stress among citizens.
More than 73 per cent of all working adults aged 20 to 64 admit to experiencing stress, and a key source of that stress is commuting. With long commutes come traffic, higher levels of anxiety and less time for other activities. Stress and bad road behaviour are forming a vicious cycle, perpetuating less and less civility on our streets. Road safety is now larger than just a city or infrastructure problem: it’s also a public health issue.
In 2018, the city of Toronto experienced its worst year in terms of the number of injuries and fatalities on the streets: 42 pedestrians and 5 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and 13 drivers were killed or seriously injured due to aggressive or distracted driving.
While there is important work underway at the municipal level with Vision Zero 2.0, a majority of GTA residents admit they are simply not familiar enough with what the city is doing to prioritize road safety. In fact, 51 per cent of cyclists (up three per cent from 2018), 20 per cent of drivers and 19 per cent of pedestrians still feel unsafe on the streets of the GTA. Even more telling among cyclists age 18 and older, 57 percent feel unsafe (up 9 per cent from 2018).
“The street safety issue in our city is not getting any better – it has gotten much worse. The grim numbers in 2019 to-date have proved that,” says Donna Ince, Senior Vice President for Personal Insurance at RSA Canada. “We must all take accountability for the role we’ve played in the deteriorating climate of our streets – and our communities. It’s on all of us to commit to reducing the rage on the streets and put an end to this crisis once and for all.”
Less anxiety and stress on the road helps to support ongoing efforts to make Toronto’s streets safer and enables road users to react in a timely, informed and calm manner. Improvements in road safety overall constitute an important aspect of making our cities healthier.
TruceTO’s goal is to amplify understanding of the important work being carried out by the city, by independent organizations, and at the federal level, and encourage GTA residents to make a personal commitment to change, to play their part in making our streets safer and more civil for all.
Overall, year over year it’s clear – the increasing rate of road rage, lack of education and empathy, and low awareness on the roads remains at the core of the issue.
Additional findings from the TruceTO survey include:
Breaking the rules:
Drivers (75 per cent), pedestrians (67 per cent) and cyclists (72 per cent) in the GTA all agree that drivers not following the rules constitute one of the greatest causes of distress on the road
Whose right of way is it?
53 per cent (up three per cent from 2018) of pedestrians, 49 per cent of drivers, and 40 per cent of cyclists don’t always know when cyclists have the right of way
Only 60 per cent of cyclists use hand signals consistently
Too close for comfort:
45 per cent of drivers, 44 per cent of pedestrians and 63 per cent of cyclists have been in a collision or know someone who has
The survey also revealed that 84 per cent of respondents claim to have made a major behavioural change in the past few years such as drinking more water (30 per cent) or changing their sleep patterns (25 per cent), but only four per cent indicated a desire to change their road behaviour, even though the latter is a clearly identified source of stress.
“People are willing to change for better physical health but are less likely to feel motivated to change when it comes to improving safety in their community,” adds Ince. “We need to change this mindset, because road safety is closely linked to improvements in overall physical and mental health. As providers of auto insurance, we have a vested interest in the wellbeing of our customers on and off the road.”
Here are a few solutions to help make our streets safer for all:
About the 2019 TruceTO survey: TripleScoop Premium Market Research is an independent full-service research agency with deep roots in the pioneering development of online research methods. An online survey of 1,305 Canadians who are 16 years or older, live and/or work in the Greater Toronto Area and regularly use the city streets as pedestrians, cyclists and/or drivers, was completed between May 3-15, 2019, using AskingCanadians’ online panel. AskingCanadians’ online panel has more than one million members nationally, the leading online data collection firm in Canada, and the first one to implement TrueSample for powerful identity validation, de-duplication and engagement modeling that ensures survey respondents are real, unique and engaged. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.7%, 19 times out of 20.
About RSA: With a 300-year heritage, RSA is a multinational quoted insurance group. Focusing on general insurance, RSA’s core markets are the UK & Ireland, Scandinavia and Canada, with the capability to write insurance business across the globe. RSA’s core businesses have approximately 13,500 employees with net written premiums of £6.3bn in 2016.