Winter is here: Prepare for B.C.’s changing road conditions, say police

Road and weather conditions at Rogers Pass along the Trans-Canada Highway in B.C., on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. DriveBC

Christmas is nearing.

In B.C., that means busy roads as people travel to visit family throughout the province.

Revelstoke RCMP Cpl. Thomas Blakney has one piece of advice for motorists: Be prepared before hitting the highway.

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Click to play video: 'Are you prepared for winter driving?'
Are you prepared for winter driving?

“We want motorists to be prepared and to use good resources, like DriveBC and weather websites, to check out what’s going on with road and weather reports,” Blakney told Global News.

“Just be prepared for the weather,” said Blakney, adding vehicles should be equipped with proper tires and that having an emergency road safety kit is a good idea.

The recommendations come on the heels of several recent accidents throughout the province, including two near Revelstoke.

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Click to play video: 'Keeping kids safe in car seats this winter'
Keeping kids safe in car seats this winter

On Monday, the Trans-Canada Highway 18 kilometres east of Revelstoke was closed for approximately 10 hours following a fatal collision between a sedan and a transport truck.

The accident, which occurred at 3:40 p.m., claimed the life of the driver and lone occupant of the sedan, a 52-year-old man from B.C.

Revelstoke RCMP said the initial indication is that the sedan crossed the centre line on a two-way, curved section of the highway.

With winter here, police are warning motorists to drive to road conditions. Submitted

Police described road and weather conditions at the time as compact snow with flurries, with minimal visibility with a temperature of -3 C degrees.

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On Tuesday morning, a vehicle incident four kilometres west of Field, B.C., closed the Trans-Canada Highway again, though it was later reopened that morning.

While being prepared may sound obvious, motorists can be caught flatfooted by not thinking of what could possibly happen.

“You never know when you’re going to get caught up in traffic congestion due to avalanche control, due to unfortunate accidents,” said Blakney. “And then you’re left with your vehicle idling, so you want to be prepared that you have a full tank of gas.

“Have proper things in your vehicle, including food, like protein bars, etc., a candle, blankets and suitable clothing.”

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Click to play video: 'Keep your vehicle running smoothly during the cold weather'
Keep your vehicle running smoothly during the cold weather

Blakney believes most motorists now check out road conditions before they leave, “so that helps them drive according to the conditions.”

However, he added drivers can still be thrown a curveball, noting that high mountain passes, like Rogers Pass or the Okanagan Connector, can get heavy dumps of snow, stating  road and weather conditions “can change quite drastically in elevation.”

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In related news, Environment Canada is forecasting flurries for B.C.’s Southern Interior Wednesday through Friday. The amount of snow and chance of snowfall varies from region to region.

However, snow is forecast for mountain passes on Wednesday evening. For the Coquihalla Highway (Hope to Merritt), 10 cm is being forecast, while 5-10 cm is forecast for Highway 3 (Hope to Princeton). For the Trans-Canada, Highway 97 and the eastern section of Highway 3, 5 cm is being projected.




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