With Tuesday’s winter storm still impacting Vancouver Island and more snow on the way, drivers are being urged to take the necessary precautions or in some cases, face fines.
The storm wreaked havoc on the Island, with ditches and roadsides littered with cars unable to take on the sudden snow and ice.
Now another snowfall warning has been issued by Environment Canada, stating another 15 centimetres could hit inland and eastern Vancouver Island as well as the Malahat Highway starting Friday afternoon and continuing into Saturday morning.
“Communities near and above 150 metres as well as communities away from the water are likely to see the higher accumulations of 15 cm,” Environment Canada said.
If Friday’s weather impacts the Malahat anything like this most recent storm did, some drivers need to get the memo quickly that the tires they’re using aren’t up to par, according to one tow company.
Mid-Island Towing’s Mike Oldfield said the majority of crashes he’s responding to are caused by drivers with bald tires, or no winter tires at all.
“If there’s snow tomorrow, that’s just going to make it more challenging for people to travel, and people to get to them,” Oldfield told CHEK News on Thursday.
The Malahat Highway requires cars be equipped with winter or all-season mud and snow tires during the fall and winter months or face a $121 fine.
While there’s no data currently available on the number of tickets handed out this year, ICBC says that in 2021 police in B.C. issued a total of 98 tickets for inadequate tire treads.
That, plus a new Winter Driving Survey from BCAA, suggests the number of people driving unprepared for this kind of weather is relatively high.
The survey suggests that 47 per cent of B.C. drivers have not had their winter tires installed, 42 per cent of drivers are nervous about driving in snow, only 37 per cent keep an emergency kit in their vehicle in case of breakdown and 72 per cent believe B.C. drivers are bad winter drivers.
To improve your confidence, Autocheck Nanaimo mechanic Stefan Kennett recommends assessing your vehicle before you start the engine in cold weather, ensure you have snow tires on and clear your car’s wiper blades of snow and ice before turning them on.
He said if you don’t, it could cause serious damage.
“It won’t go and it will just snap the mechanism, and then you have no wipers for the rest of the day,” said Kennett.
You should also check that your coolant and windshield fluid levels are up, and pay close attention to your car’s battery. If it’s struggling to turn over it’s likely to die in below-freezing temperatures and leave you stranded.
“If it turns over a little slower, then that’s an indication that something’s going to happen soon,” said Kennett.
Before the next snowfall even hit, drivers like Nanaimo retiree Joan Rogerson struggled over ice Thursday to get her truck outfitted in snow tires in Nanaimo, taking no chances with the coming storm.
“I’m kind of worried as the weather gets colder and I see more people in ditches and icy conditions. It’s really a tough road out there for people.”