What You Need to Know to Drive in the Snow

The snow in Vancouver was responsible for over 4,300 calls to ICBC over damage and accidents from the  road conditions.  With roads in the lower mainland covered in slush and snow, the goodfirm ICBC car accident lawyers want to extend a warning to take extra caution on the roads this year in order to avoid being found responsible for an accident.

The general rule in British Columbia is a driver is expected to operate their vehicle in a reasonably prudent manner (given their age and ability) having regard for the prevailing road conditions.  In winter road conditions, drivers are under an increased obligation to take extra precautions. Vancouver’s roads can be particularly difficult with fresh snow and slush. As stated by Mr. Justice Williams in Tran v. Edbrooke, 2013 BCSC 1802:

“It is a notorious fact that when Vancouver streets are covered in fresh snow, whether it is because of the moisture present or the fact that the ambient temperature is often quite close to the freezing point and not much colder, or for some other reason, they can be expected to be very slippery and car crashes occur with regrettable frequency”

In some cases failing to use snow tires in dangerous conditions can lead to a driver being found responsible for an accident (Foster v. Perry and VSA Highway Maintenance Ltd., 2005 BCSC 1214).

The law also expects that a reasonably prudent driver will be aware of the possibility of dangerous road conditions. The court has imposed liability on drivers who should have been aware that cold temperatures, frost and major sanding on a road can make for icy road conditions where a driver should reduce their speed (Cranfield v. McKay, 2004 BCSC 291). In particular, Madam Justice Southin in Redlack v. Vekved 1996, CanLII 3089 BCCA states:

“A prudent driver in such circumstances must always bear in mind the possibility of icy patches and drive within his or her own competence, and the capacity of her vehicle, to cope with such patches.  Just as the streets of London are crowded and dangerous, so, in the winter, are the roads on the mainland of British Columbia, once one is beyond the Lower Mainland, hazardous.  To drive in such circumstances as if it were summer is not the conduct of a prudent driver.”

Take extra precaution when driving this holiday season and if you or anyone you know is injured in an accident, give the goodfirm ICBC car accident lawyers a call.

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