and Travelling BC Highways
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.
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.
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:
Items that you might want to include and get checked when you're
driving BC roads when the road and weather conditions are normal:
system including engine thermostat - very important
a vehicle safety inspection
sure brakes and tires are good
alert for emergency vehicles, transport trucks and power line
down at road construction sites - fines heavily enforced
your vehicle's ability on back roads
First aid kit
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
designed for the winter including a good spare tire
for your tires
cables and good snow shovel
emergency candles and matches handy including a flashlight.
a cellphone (check coverage)
provisions including water
for highway maintenance crews, especially sand trucks
for wildlife - particularly at night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- British Columbia Automobile Association
- BC Detachment Directory
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.
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.
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