'Use a credit card on mirrors': BCAA's tips for winter driving
VANCOUVER -- As Metro Vancouver residents reel from the recent dump of snow, BCAA is offering up some winter driving tips.
The chilly conditions created chaos in the Lower Mainland with school closures, transit delays and ferry cancellations. The wicked weather even prompted a warning from B.C. officials, asking drivers to avoid the roads unless necessary.
For those driving in the snow, BCAA said there are a number of factors to keep in mind to stay safe. Al Lam, regional manager for fleet operations at BCAA, shared advice he's learned after 12 years on the job.
Clear all snow off your car
It may seem like an obvious tip, but drivers don't always clear off their vehicle entirely.
"Don't go anywhere until all the snow is off the vehicle from top to bottom," Lam told CTV Morning Live Wednesday.
Snow can fall onto your windshield from the roof or blow onto another vehicle behind you, limiting visibility.
In B.C., road users can receive a $109 fine if their vehicle isn't properly cleared of snow.
Wiper blades are often overlooked and Lam said they need to be properly cleaned, as they can easily stop working if snow is stuck on them or if they become frozen.
"Our wiper blades are so simple but we take them for granted until they stop working," Lam said.
He suggests putting the wipers up to clear all the snow off the blade arms.
"Clear all the windshields and windows, headlights and tail lights…so other people around us know what we're doing," Lam said.
Use a credit card to de-ice mirrors
Lam said ice scrapers are often too large to use on side-view mirrors and that's when a credit or debit card comes in handy.
Use the card to scrape all the ice and frost off mirrors before heading out.
Have an emergency kit in your vehicle
Being prepared for any scenario is imperative when driving in winter conditions.
Lam said every driver should have the following items in their vehicle: a first aid kit, flashlight, snow brush, ice scraper, blanket, gloves, non-perishable food items and road cones. Lam said it's also a good idea to have salt and a shovel handy.
Take it slow
As these are conditions most Metro Vancouver residents aren't used to driving in, Lam said it's important to take it slow. He suggested always having both hands on the steering wheel and taking a slow and steady approach to braking.
"We don't want to slam on our brakes, because we're going to slide," Lam said. "We don't want to abruptly turn the steering wheel. When it's snowing like this, the tires will not be able to change direction that quickly."
Lastly, Lam said if a driver doesn't feel comfortable driving in these conditions, they should stay home or find alternative transportation.