EDITORIAL: Winter driving requires preparation

Monday’s 15-hour road closure highlighted need for drivers to be ready for anything

Monday’s tragic fatal crash near American Creek had travellers waiting to get moving again for what seems like an unprecedented time — about 15 hours.

The severity of the crash, coupled with the potential for a fuel spill, called for care and diligence at the scene by first responders and clean up crews. It’s unusual to be waiting in traffic that long, sitting in a car or a bus unsure of when you’ll get to your destination. Road conditions aside, it’s a serious reminder that being prepared is a must.

Having enough blankets to stay warm, water to stay hydrated, phone chargers and medications are all musts for waiting it out on a snowy, slushy or rainy highway. Keeping your car filled with a full tank of gas is another must for winter driving. It doesn’t take long for a car to get to outside temperatures once the heater is off. Take the time to check fluids, pack a lunch, and let people know where you’re heading.

Thankfully, Monday’s crash happened in the Fraser Canyon where residents were happy to open their doors for travellers. Some even billeted students who were unable to get home.

READ MORE: Highway 1 now reopened in both directions following fatality

When one highway is closed, getting around to another route can be lengthy and even dangerous. On Monday, while Highway 1 remained closed, the Coquihalla had a winter travel advisory with several reports of flipped cars. Highway 3 also had closures through the day. Most of what you need to know about highway traveling — in general and in real time — is available on DriveBC’s website, mobile website and Twitter account.

There are many more travel days ahead this season that will include snow, ice, sleet and closures.

Be prepared for a wait. Be aware of the road conditions ahead. Be ready for anything. And drive safely.

-Hope Standard

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