Winter is coming and that means our roads and highways in the north can be unpredictable at the best of times.

October is Drive Relative to Conditions month in BC and police will be out stopping drivers and checking vehicles to make sure they are properly equipped to meet winter driving conditions.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson with the North District RCMP has a few tips on what should be in good working order.

“Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order with no cracks in the windshield, your fluids are topped up, and that you are prepared to be driving in these weather conditions.”

“You could receive fines for your lights not working and if you have daytime running lights, make sure your lights are turned on because they don’t always activate your tail lights. So, when you turn your headlights on your taillights will come on as well and a lot of people seem to forget that.”

According to police, 36 people are killed on average each year in collisions where vehicles were being driven too fast for the road conditions.

Here is a list of reminders from police while driving during the winter season:

  • Replace windshield wipers to improve visibility and clear all windows of fog/ice and snow before driving;
  • Clean your vehicle’s windows in and out, use air conditioning at a comfortable temperature so windows don’t fog up, and consider applying products to the exterior glass that repels water to improve visibility;
  • Check your tires to ensure they are in good condition, have sufficient tread depth, and are properly inflated. Winter tread (including M&S tires) are required in BC between October 1st and April 30th (For select highways not located through mountain passes and/or high snowfall areas, tire and chain requirements end March 31);
  • Turn your headlights to the ON position – this ensures your tail lights come on as well so you can be seen from behind. Make sure all your lights, signals, and brake lights are fully functional;
  • Do not use cruise control on wet/snowy/slippery road surfaces;
  • Increase the distance between you and vehicles ahead to give yourself more time to stop, especially if it is raining/snowing/slippery/foggy/night time;
  • Slow down especially if it is raining/snowing/foggy or any other time your visibility is limited. Posted speed limits assume ideal driving conditions;
  • Be extra vigilant for cyclists and pedestrians who may be unpredictable and not clearly visible;
  • Watch out for black ice as temperatures drop to freezing; and
  • Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.