Spring has arrived and all over British Columbia drivers are shaking off the winter slumber and getting ready to hit the road. As BC’s automobile insurance provider, Park has firsthand experience with all of the unique challenges and nuances of driving through the cities, towns, and highways of the province through the season. To help keep you, your passengers, and those sharing the road with you safe, we have provided a list of tips to note before getting behind the wheel.
4 Things Drivers Need to Do to Keep Safe When Driving BC Roads in the Spring Season
1. Spring in the City / Winter on the Highway
The passing of the spring solstice doesn’t put you in the clear when it comes to the highways of BC. You may be pulling out of your carport in Greater Vancouver, bookended by cherry blossoms and enjoying mid-teen temperatures, but as soon as you leave city limits and head for higher elevations you may find that winter remains. Well travelled highways such as the Sea to Sky, Coquihalla, and Allison Pass (and others) can get daytime/overnight snowfall all the way through until the summer. You need to prepare accordingly. Don’t change your winter tires quite yet, check BC road conditions, and be sure to note these five tips to safe driving in BC during the winter, even though it’s spring.
2. Preparing for the Wave of Long Weekend Traffic
While holidays also run through the winter, they don’t impact the highways quite as much, as road trip season doesn’t kick in until the spring in BC. Easter long weekend and Victoria Day long weekend will see traffic levels increase exponentially. According to ICBC, Easter long weekends average four fatalities, 650 injuries, and 2,300 crashes in the province. Last year, reports show that there were nearly 500 injuries and almost 2000 crashes in B.C. over the Victoria Day long weekend.
In addition to exercising more caution on the long weekends, take note of favorable forecasts. A forecasted run of sunny and warm weather can turn a normal weekend into an event for many BC residents who are eager to take advantage of great weather, hitting the roads in hoards. While you should drive safely 365 days of the year, you will want to be especially mindful to avoid the scenarios that put you at risk for distracted driving through the long weekends, and the like.
3. Prepare for Driving in the Rain
While November technically reigns as the month with the most rain in BC, the months of April and May take the cake as the wettest months through the spring and summer as the calendar makes its way through to the next autumn season. Therefore, before you hit the road, inspect your wipers.
Look out for detached frames, corrosion (rust) of metal joints, cracks or missing pieces along the rubber squeegee, a loss of flexibility in the squeegee, and rounded edges on the squeegee wiper. At the first sign of precipitation put your wipers to the test in a safe environment such as the exposed part of your carport, or parked curbside along your street, away from a tree canopy. As the rain hits your windshield, take note of streaking or skipping while the wipers are in operation. If evident, wait until the next sunny day and drive to your nearest hardware store (or mechanic) to have your wipers replaced. Even if there are no issues evident, your wiper blades should be changed twice per year. Use the arrival of the spring season as a starting point and change them again six months down the road with the arrival of autumn.
Lastly, keep an eye out for pedestrians on rainy days when they can be much harder to spot in both urban, suburban, and rural settings. Follow these pedestrian safety awareness tips that can be applied to the next spring rain on the road.
4. Review (and Renew?) Your Automobile Insurance Policy
Given that spring is the official season of renewal, why not use it as an excuse to take a good hard look at your current automobile insurance policy. Feeling confident about your current coverage? Well, did you know that nearly one-quarter of Canadians are not fully aware of what their insurance policies cover, while and additional 42 percent are surprised by something on their policy when the time comes to file a claim? Those figures can be concerning when you’re about to hit the streets and highways during the busy season. Let spring serve as a time of review, renewal, and/or upgrading of your current automobile insurance policy. Sit down with an independent broker to make sure you’re fully covered for all that can pop up in the spring. Contact Park Insurance today.