POWELL RIVER, B.C.- The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has released holiday crash statistics, and the numbers are not pretty.
During the holiday season, an average of 340 people are injured in 1200 crashes in B.C.
From Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, 22 crashes are reported and six people are injured every hour, according to ICBC.
“With many people travelling to spend the holidays with family and friends, drivers should be prepared for the varied winter conditions they will encounter,” said ICBC’s director responsible for road safety, Lindsay Matthews.
ICBC has made a list of four important questions drivers should ask themselves before heading out on the road.
Is my vehicle ready?
Many provincial highways require you to have winter tires installed, labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation.
Do a pre-trip check before hitting the road, top up your wiper fluid and pack an emergency kit that would include a blanket, food and water.
Am I completely focused on the road?
ICBC has said that you are five times more likely to crash if you are using a hand-held phone.
To combat this, the corporation advises making important calls and looking up trip routes before you get into the car, and then place your phone out of reach.
If you are taking a longer trip, make sure to take a break at highway rest stops.
Do I have enough space to stop safely?
Wet and icy roads equal slippery conditions.
This makes it more difficult to stop. ICBC said that you can reduce your risk of crashing by adjusting your speed for the conditions and maintaining a safe travelling distance between vehicles.
How am I getting home?
If any holiday parties include alcohol, arrange a safe ride home.
Call a taxi, get a hotel or have a friend pick you up. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead, and decide how you will be getting home before heading out to a party.
Police ramp up enforcement over the holidays, looking for impaired drivers. Some communities also offer safe ride home shuttles.
ICBC noted that on Vancouver Island, an average of 40 people are injured in 150 crashes during the Christmas holidays every year.
In the Lower Mainland, an average of 250 people are injured in 780 crashes during the season each year.
ICBC defines the Christmas holidays as 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve to midnight on Boxing Day.