Friday December 3, 2010
Shift Into Winter
Some simple winter road trip tips that could save your life
Submitted by Lennea Durant, BCAA TS
inter weather is hard on your vehicle and its engine. Is your truck, car, or van up to the challenge? Winterizing your vehicle - whether you drive that vehicle for work or personal use - could save you some stress and aggravation. Most importantly, it could save your life.
"Safe winter highway travel depends not only on vehicle preparation, but also learning as much as you can about how to handle our winter conditions, " said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond. "And one of the best tips I can pass along to motorists in B.C. at this time of the year is to visit the DriveBC website drivebc.ca before embarking on your journey."
Fleet managers and employees who drive company vehicles are well aware of the dangers of operating a faulty vehicle. But people who use their personal vehicles for work, should take the same precautions toward maintaining their vehicles.
"It's important to maintain and properly equip your personal vehicles, even more so if you are adding extra miles and wear and tear on your vehicle while driving for work," says Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC manager for transportation. "The costs of installing four winter tires and doing some preventative maintenance are worth the investment, especially when you consider the risk of serious injury and other costs associated with a crash."
WorkSafeBC and the British Columbia Automobile Association Traffic Safety Foundation offer the following few tips to help keep you safe on the road.
Get winter tires - Install four matched winter tires that carry the winter tire logo, even on a 4 x 4 vehicle. Winter tires provide better traction in snow, slush, and icy conditions. Rotate them front to back each year, and make sure you check the tire air-pressure frequently, as it tends to decrease in cold weather.
Do a maintenance check-up - Make sure your battery, brakes, lights and fuses, cooling and heating systems, electrical and exhaust systems, and belts and hoses are in good working order. Switch to winter wiper blades, which are better at removing snow and ice from the windshield.
Sweep snow off your car - Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, and mirrors, as well as the hood and roof. Allow your windows to completely defrost before driving.
Top up the tank - Keep your gas tank full to avoid condensation and moist air on the inside of the tank, which can cause fuel lines to freeze.
Pack a winter survival kit - A survival kit includes extra windshield washer fluid, flares and matches or a lighter, tire chains, a shovel and a traction mat, sandbags for extra weight and traction, a flashlight and extra batteries, battery jumper cables, a spare tire, a wheel wrench, and a jack.
"In today's workforce, we rely heavily on the flawless operation of our vehicles, but brakes fail and batteries die," says Allan Lamb, executive director of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation.
He strongly recommends that anyone who drives a vehicle keep that vehicle well maintained. "Fleet managers are responsible for the upkeep of vehicle maintenance, but it doesn't hurt for the vehicle's driver to do so as well."
For more information about preparing your vehicle for winter driving, visit BCAATSF.ca or WorkSafeBC.com.
About the partners
WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a Board of Directors that serves about 2.1 million workers and more than 200,000 employers. WorkSafeBC was born from a historic compromise between B.C.'s workers and employers in 1917. Under that compromise, workers gave up the right to sue their employers and fellow workers for injuries on the job, and, in return, employers funded a no-fault insurance system. WorkSafeBC is committed to safe and healthy workplaces, and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits.
The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is a non-profit, registered charity working with families, communities, and business partners to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes and injuries in B.C. by developing effective, community-oriented programs and interventions that make a difference. More information about the foundation is available at BCAATSF.ca or by calling 604 298-5107.
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