Residents urged to prepare for winter driving before first snowfall

WInter tires with adequate tread considered essential when snow begins falling

Ryan Campbell of Fix 'em Auto in Keremeos demonstrates how to measure tread depth in snow tires using a loonie. The Keremeos mechanic said that many residents changed their tires ahead of the rush this year.

Ryan Campbell of Fix 'em Auto in Keremeos demonstrates how to measure tread depth in snow tires using a loonie. The Keremeos mechanic said that many residents changed their tires ahead of the rush this year.

ICBC and police urge Southern Interior drivers to adjust their driving in fall and winter weather

Speed-related crashes significantly increase from October to December in B.C.

Every year in October, an average of 28 people are injured or killed in crashes in the Southern Interior due to driving too fast for the conditions. That number more than triples to 97 in December as driving conditions worsen.

Sergeant Harold Hallett, a member of the South Okanagan Traffic Servicess force in Keremeos, said that tires and speed, relative to conditions,  are the two biggest items factoring into winter driving accidents in Keremeos and the Similkameen.

“People are usually pretty good, except for the first snowfall of the seaon, when we tend to get multiple accidents,” he explained, “but after that they adjust to the weather conditions.”

Hallett said the region’s major problem areas during fall and winter include:

– the shaded rock cut areas of Highway 3A at both ends of Yellow Lake.

– the rolling hills west of Richter Pass .

– Highway 3 from approximately the Old Hedley Road west to Princeton.

“By far, the worst area is Highway 3 east of Princeton,” Hallett said, noting the fatality that occurred in a semi trailer accident near Bromley Rock last week.

“Mist will come off the nearby river, a couple of degrees above freezing, and settle on the road bed, which is below freezing,causing the road to ice up,” he explained.

“I’m hoping that Argo (Road Maintenance) will continue to monitor that stretch of road closely this winter, and apply brine when needed.”

Highway patrols across the province are implementing a program based on statistics regarding the dates, time, localtion and type of traffic infraction. Police are defining where those areas are in the Similkameen, and concentrating their resources in the high accident area.

“We’ve had some success, as for two years their have been no fatal crashes on the Hope Princeton Highway.”

 

“To my knowledge, that’s never happened before.”

Hallett said the idea is to “raise the perceived risk of apprhension in the targetted areas, and it appears to be working.”

 

As the Lower Similkameen prepares for its first snowfall, Hallett offers some simple advice:

 

“Tires and speed relative to conditions are the biggest accident factors in winter driving.”

“Your tires are your number one safety system. When it comes to buying winter tires, don’t scrimp – don’t go cheap.”