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 Home > Travel BC > Driving and Travelling BC Highways 

Driving and Travelling BC Highways
British Columbia is a wild and diverse land with some areas being more remote and less inhabited than what you could be used to. Weather patterns changing quickly, landslides, avalanches, floods, wildfires and the potential for earthquakes and tsunamis can be present in some regions at all times.

Get Informed and be Prepared
The secret to minimizing your chances of accidents and yet explore this great land is to be well informed and equally prepared ahead of time before you venture off.

Road Safety
The recreational pursuits available in BC will require you to drive and travel large distances both on dirt roads and paved highways. These roads tend to be curvy, cross many mountain passes and go near water. To make sure your trip is problem free, please do the following before setting off on a driving trip:

Non Winter Driving
Items that you might want to include and get checked when you're driving BC roads when the road and weather conditions are normal:

  • Cooling system including engine thermostat - very important
  • Get a vehicle safety inspection
  • Make sure brakes and tires are good
  • Be alert for emergency vehicles, transport trucks and power line crews
  • Slow down at road construction sites - fines heavily enforced
  • Respect your vehicle's ability on back roads
    First aid kit

Driving in the Winter
During the winter season, driving throughout British Columbia can be more dangerous than in normal times. For that reason, you need to be better prepared and take more time when travelling. Some precautions and additional safety items that you might consider to carry in your vehicle include:

  • Warm blanket or sleeping bag and extra clothing
  • Tires designed for the winter including a good spare tire
  • Chains for your tires
  • Jumper cables and good snow shovel
  • Keep emergency candles and matches handy including a flashlight.
  • Carry a cellphone (check coverage)
  • Extra provisions including water
  • Watch for highway maintenance crews, especially sand trucks
  • Don't speed
  • Watch for wildlife - particularly at night.

Always Changing Weather
Associated with long travel is the possibility of poor weather. This usually happens when moist Pacific air comes in contact with British Columbia mountains. The result is lots of precipitation in the form of heavy rain and snow.

British Columbia's Mountains
This, combined with British Columbia's mountains and steep terrain, can affect road travel. Sometimes roads and bridges can be flooded creating minor delays in traffic. Please be aware of this and adjust your expected travel time in bad weather.

Take Your Time
The main thing is to take your time. If you can, try to get a weather report, plus current road conditions. When the storms do happen, expect possible road closures in high snow areas or mountain passes. If this happens to you, don't worry as there are lots of motels along the way to help you wait it out.

BCAA and the RCMP
If you do happen to have vehicle problems, don't panic as most areas do have RCMP detachments that patrol the highways. There are also various tow truck companies available in most towns as well as BCAA (British Columbia Automobile Association) which has agents present in most of British Columbia to assist you.

  • BCAA - British Columbia Automobile Association
  • RCMP - BC Detachment Directory

BC Communities
Most BC communities are very friendly and will tend to help you if there are problems providing help and possible ideas to get you through. Fortunately, throughout the backcountry, most of the locals are very mechanically adaptable and quite fair in their assistance of people being stranded.

Possible Hazards
Travelling along British Columbia highways is safe, but remember during all seasons, you can still have dangers with deer, moose, traffic and slippery roads - all creating possible hazards for you.

Just Remember When Travelling
Just make sure you constantly keep your eyes on the road, notice the highway hazard signs, and lower your speed at night. Also have your vehicle well maintained, especially the cooling system and brakes, as the mountain passes will tend to test your vehicle's noteworthiness.

Travel Information

 

Road to Atlin
Road to Atlin

 

Please Yield to Logging Traffic
Please Yield to Logging Traffic

 

Port Mann Bridge Traffic
Port Mann Bridge Traffic

 

Winter Driving
Winter Driving

 

Dangerous Conditions
Dangerous Conditions

 

Hwy 37 near Cassiar
Hwy 37 near Cassiar

 

Spirit of Vancouver Island
Spirit of Vancouver Island

 
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