With the wrong rubber on cold, wet, snowy or icy roads, you’re not only risking life and limb, you’re playing with financial fire, say experts.
Almost double the number of pedestrians are injured in crashes from October to January as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease.*
That’s why today, ICBC is launching a pedestrian safety campaign with police and TransLink to urge pedestrians and drivers to stay safe as crashes with pedestrians spike at this time of year.
Pedestrian safety is a serious concern in B.C. – they’re the most vulnerable road user to be injured when a crash occurs. Drivers should take extra time to look for pedestrians before turning especially near transit stops, avoid distractions and be ready to yield.
Pedestrians can help stay safe by making eye contact, watching for drivers turning left or right at intersections, and using designated crosswalks.
ICBC, TransLink and community policing volunteers will be handing out reflectors and safety tips in high pedestrian traffic areas across the province to help pedestrians stay visible.
This year’s campaign features online advertising that reminds drivers: you see pedestrians when you really look for them.
Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee
“This is the time of year when police see an increasing number of crashes involving pedestrians. We all have a part to play to make our streets safer. Drivers should know that distracted driving and failing to stop for people walking at intersections are some of the top factors in crashes with pedestrians. Pedestrians also need to be careful and aware. We encourage them to take out their headphones and take a break from the phone when crossing the road. Reflective gear, particularly on anything moving such as arms and legs, helps pedestrians be far more visible to drivers.”
Derek Stewart, TransLink Director of Safety and Emergency Management
“Everyone needs to be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially at this time of year when daylight hours are decreasing and weather conditions are changing. Pedestrians should never assume that they can be seen, even when using a crosswalk. Step out onto the street only when there’s certainty that it’s safe to do so. It’s vital that we all work together to avoid accidents or injuries involving pedestrians.”
Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President of Public Affairs and Driver Licensing
“Even when drivers proceed with caution, it’s hard to see pedestrians at this time of year when visibility is poor. Crashes with pedestrians are highest between 3pm and 6pm every day, when most of us are commuting home from school and work. Please focus on the road and leave your phone alone. It’s time we all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C.”
In the Lower Mainland every year, on average, 2,300 crashes involve a pedestrian.
On Vancouver Island every year, on average, 390 crashes involve a pedestrian.
In the Southern Interior every year, on average, 280 crashes involve a pedestrian.
In the North Central region every year, on average, 87 crashes involve a pedestrian.
Editor’s note: Pedestrian involved crash statistics for B.C. communities are available upon request.
*In B.C., 1,200 pedestrians are injured in crashes between October and January and 670 pedestrians are injured between May and August. ICBC data based on five year average from 2014 to 2018.
**ICBC data based on five-year average from 2014 to 2018.
One 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:
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.
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.
Are you confused? Drop by an ICBC Driver Service Center and pick up a copy of Learn to Drive Smart for review, it’s free. You can also find your own electronic copy of the manual at www.icbc.com.
- Section 150 MVA – Driver on Right
- Section 151 MVA – Driving on Laned Roadway
- Section 155 MVA – Highway Lines
- Signs, Signals and Road Markings – Learn to Drive Smart
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.