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Stay off the road if your car isn't ready for the wintry weather: police

Last Updated Jan 13, 2020 at 12:42 pm PST

Tire tracks left in some slush (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Coquitlam RCMP say regardless of whether you get into a crash -- if you don't have M+S tires, you could be fined

There are several other offenses under the Motor Vehicle Act with penalty points ranging from two to six

First responders have been out since Sunday evening when the snow really started coming down in many areas

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Most first responders have been dealing with hundreds of crashes across the region since the weekend and they’re warning everyone — if you don’t have the proper tires, leave the wheels at home.

You would think this is common sense, but many police departments we’ve been chatting with would disagree.


Coquitlam RCMP Corporal Michael McLaughlin says regardless of whether you get into a crash — if you don’t have M+S tires, you could be fined.

“We have abandoned vehicles all over the place. People just aren’t prepared. First rule when you leave your house if you aren’t prepared for these conditions and you don’t have proper tires and a vehicle that can handle this weather, don’t drive. Another thing that we see is 4-wheel drive vehicles and the driver seems to believe that they can drive faster because of 4-wheel drive. The fact is you can’t turn or stop any faster with 4-wheel drive and your vehicle is probably heavier than other vehicles which makes it more difficult to stop.”

You’ve likely seen people gunning it on the road as they drift in and out of lanes thinking they’re invincible, but they’re not.

“People also need to understand that speed limits are made for ideal conditions with snow and ice like we have now, you must go substantially slower than the posted limit. We do have a fine if you don’t and you hit somebody. It’s called Speed Relative to Conditions [and] it’s a $167. In fact, you don’t have to even hit anybody before that ticket is laid.”

There are several other offenses under the Motor Vehicle Act with penalty points ranging from two to six.

“A really common problem we see with snowfalls like this is people putting a tiny window that they can see through in their windshield and leaving the rest of the snow on their vehicle. This is not acceptable. There is a ticket for that, it’s $109. Essentially, what you have to do before you leave your driveway, you must clear all the snow off your vehicle — your roof, all your windows, your license plate, your lights — make sure you’re visible and no snow will block your view or anybody else’s view while you’re driving,” explains McLaughlin.

Enforcement is happening across the region, especially in harder-hit areas where the accumulations may be a little higher.

Source: ICBC

“It’s incumbent upon the driver who gets the wheel to make sure their vehicle is ready to drive in conditions like this. You must have proper tire depth, you must have a vehicle that is completely clear from any snow and you, yourself must be able to adjust to these conditions — that means slowing down, being extra cautious and leaving much more distance between you and vehicles around you.”

First responders have been out since Sunday evening when the snow really started coming down in many areas and McLaughlin confirms, they’re using a lot of resources.

“The message we’re trying to get out to people is don’t be that one-in-10 or two-in-10 people who aren’t prepared. Most people are behaving quite well on the roads, but all it takes is for a few to drive too quickly, to have cars that aren’t ready for these conditions and it makes a real mess for everybody.”

McLaughlin stresses you could be hit with multiple fines if you get caught unprepared to get around. “It’s not unusual, particularly in something like a collision, where there’s been actual damage or people have been hurt, for people to get four or five or six tickets. It can really add up if you’re being irresponsible when you get behind the wheel.”

As always we’ll keep you in the loop with updates in NEWS 1130 Traffic every 10 minutes on the ones and alerts to get you there on time.