Vancouver has the unfortunate reputation of being labeled as Raincouver. However, the city certainly does experience all four seasons of the year!
With that, every season poses different hazards and challenges for drivers where weather and traffic conditions can change quickly. Not all accidents are unavoidable, but many are preventable if you take the appropriate safety measures.
Many of the following tips may seem like common sense, but constant reminders help reinforce good habits and behaviors, which makes sharing the road much safer for everyone.
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Vehicle Safety During the Winter Season
1/ Use a good quality ice scraper and brush to clear all the snow and ice off your vehicle before you drive anywhere.
Areas to focus on:
- Top of the vehicle – You avoid having a big chunk of snow fall off the vehicle and endangering other drivers and pedestrians
- Headlights and tail lights – Ensure that your vehicle’s lights and signals can be seen by other drivers, especially when driving in the evening
- Front and rear windshields – Without properly removing snow/ice from windshields, your wipers can get stuck in place. Any forced usage of the wipers can damage the motor as well as the wiper blades.
- Driver & passenger windows and side mirrors – Ensure that you have clear visibility from all sides and angles.
2/ Keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle
Although an emergency kit should be kept in your vehicle all year round, it’s especially important to have one during the winter season where road conditions are the most hazardous and unpredictable.
Here is a checklist of items that should be in your vehicle emergency kit:
- Bottled water
- Foods that won’t spoil easily. Here are some ideas:
- Canned food
- Granola, protein, energy bars
- Dried fruits and nuts (trail mix)
- Biscuits, rice cakes, crackers
- Meat jerky
- Instant noodles
- Meals Ready To Eat (MRE)
- Wool blanket or sleeping bag
- Extra clothing (toques, scarves, gloves, socks, shoes)
- Rain poncho
- First aid kit
- Self-heating pads
- Small shovel, scraper and brush
- Wind-up flashlight
- Candles, matches or lighters
- Swiss army knife
- Antifreeze windshield wiper fluid
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Warning light or road flares
Most of the emergency kit items above can be purchased as a package instead of purchasing them separately.
The All Weather Automotive Kit from 72hours is a well-equipped kit to consider.
3/Consider installing winter tires
Vehicle Safety During the Spring Season
1/ Be aware of potholes
Due to temperature fluctuations and freeze-thaw cycles from winter to spring, pavement will weaken and crack, causing potholes.
Keep your eyes on the road for this hazard and give yourself enough time to safely avoid them.
2/ Avoid driving on flooded roads
Driving through flooded roads may cause your vehicle to hydroplane, where your car’s tires lose contact with the road surface and lose temporary control of the car’s steering capability.
Strongly consider taking a detour using an alternative route to get to your destination.
Also, check your tire tread depth. When the tread depth is less than 4/32 of an inch, there is a greater chance of hydroplaning to occur.
3/ Look out for animals crossing the roads
As many animals come out of winter hibernation, they become more active in search of food.
Be extra cautious when driving through areas where animals may appear more frequently such as forests, parks, gardens, farms, rural roads etc.
Vehicle Safety During the Summer Season
1/ Wax your vehicle to protect it from excessive sun exposure
The sun emits harmful ultraviolet rays that can destroy the protective top layer of your car’s paint. Not everyone has the luxury to park indoors in a garage or under sheltered areas. Applying a wax coating to your vehicle can prevent costly painting repairs down the road.
Read our blog post on other common types of car paint damage you may encounter throughout the year.
2/ Be aware of cyclists
Metro Vancouver is known for its bike friendly road network with thousands of kms of bike paths and bike-only lanes embedded in our transportation infrastructure. In the summer months, these roads become heavily commuted by all types of bikers from families to professional cyclists.
Share the road safely between your vehicle and cyclists by taking basic precautions such as:
- Make sure you ALWAYS shoulder check and use your signals when making any turn on the road
- Do not drive too close to the curb on the shoulder lane even if there isn’t a designated bike lane
- Check your side and rear view mirrors for approaching cyclists before opening your car door
- Give cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance if they are riding in front of you
- Accelerate slowly when passing by cyclists
Vehicle Safety During the Fall Season
1/ Get a regular maintenance check on your vehicle’s vitals
As summer winds down with temperatures declining and climate changing, it’s a smart decision to get your vehicle prepared for upcoming wetter weather conditions.
Things that should be routinely checked:
- Fluid leaks
- Oil and coolant levels
- Motor oil & filter
- Air filter
- Headlights, turn signals, brake, and parking lights
- Tire tread depth and tire pressure
- Vehicle alignment
- Battery life
2/ Consider replacing your wipers to ensure that they properly clean your windshields
Other than rainfall, tree leaves, flower petals, and other debris can fall onto your vehicle and obstruct your vision while driving if your wipers can’t remove them effectively.
3/ Reduce your speed in school zones
September is back to school so expect schools to be high traffic areas with parents dropping off/picking up their kids, as well as during recess and lunch breaks where students will be playing.
Be mindful and slow down as you approach any school zone to avoid causing an accident.
If your vehicle requires any auto body repair needs, speak to one of our knowledgeable technicians for a free estimate by calling 604-273-0751 or reach us via appointment form.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog post is general information only. Every vehicle repair situation is unique and requires an independent assessment. Please contact your auto body shop for an accurate diagnosis of your repair needs.