Burnaby, British Columbia – In anticipation of snow forecast for many regions of the province, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) is offering tips for safe winter driving.

“Proper preparation and the right driving skills will help you confront the challenges of winter driving,” said Ken Cousin, BCAA Road Assist Director. “Always play it safe.”

BCAA’s top ten winter driver tips are:

– Prep your vehicle by checking fluids, tire tread and inflation, lights, wipers, and brakes, and make sure your battery is checked to ensure there’s enough power.

– Install four matching winter tires. Don’t mix tires with different tread patterns, internal construction or size, which can affect handling.

– If you’re heading out on a long trip, pack an emergency kit including a shovel, extra washer fluid, sand or kitty litter, fuel line antifreeze, a thermal blanket, extra clothing and footwear, and a first-aid kit.

– Learn and practice winter driving techniques before you need them. If you have tire chains, make sure you have practiced installing them before they’re needed.

– Plan your trip by checking road and weather conditions, and if driving is risky, stay home if you can. If you cannot, proceed with caution, and keep your radio tuned to a local station for ongoing weather advisories.

– Remove all snow from your vehicle before each trip, including the hood, roof, bmpers and lights. Ensure your windshield and windows are free of frost and ice, and are defogged before starting out.

– Give yourself extra travel time in bad weather. Whenever possible, don’t travel alone.

– Avoid using overdrive and cruise control on slippery roads. Don’t drive with a false sense of security if you have four-wheel drive. The feature reduces your likelihood of getting stuck, but won’t help you stop any faster.

– Travel with a fully-charged cell phone, but don’t talk and drive. Pull over to a safe spot to make a call, or let your passenger do so.

– Drive for the conditions, not the speed limit. Transport Canada recommends leaving a distance of 10 car lengths when driving at 100 km/hr in winter.

CAA and Transport Canada recently released a brochure, Your Vehicle and Winter Driving, which can be found online at BCAA. Printed copies are also available at BCAA sales centres.

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