Whether you’re sticking close to home or itching to hit the road for Family Day on Feb. 13, various activities beckon – and the Province wants you and yours to get there safely.
A chilly skate in Chemainus, Chetwynd, Chilliwack or Cranbrook? A bouncy castle in Barriere? A Boston Bar barbecue, movie and game-playing afternoon? A chance to free your inner Dali in Delta and take the canvas home when you finish painting? These are just some of the free activities the BC Recreation and Parks Association is promoting, with $250,000 in Provincial support. View their activity list here: http://www.bcrpa.bc.ca/familyday/events
Of course, the roads will be busy this weekend. February is already a peak season for B.C. ski resorts, and overall, 2017 is shaping up to be a year for the tourism record books.
Add in weather conditions that can change rapidly at this time of year, and you’ll want to be prepared before you hit the road – in case of an emergency, and to give yourself time to reach your destination. Wherever the Family Day weekend takes you:
- Don’t drink and drive – an Immediate Roadside Prohibition could cost you up to $2,360 in penalties and get your car impounded. See: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/driving/publications/factsheet-immediate-roadside-prohibition.pdf
- Leave your phone alone – you could save yourself at least $543 in distracted-driving penalties. See: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/avoid-these-distracted-driving-excuses-and-save-543
- Ease off the accelerator – remember, the posted maximum speed is for optimal road conditions, which are a rarity in most of B.C. this time of year. Speed excessively and you’ll be out at least $368 and lose the use of your vehicle for a week. See: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/road-safety-rules-and-consequences/excessive-speed-careless-driving#excessivespeed
- Plan ahead with www.drivebc.ca – and keep an eye on www.avalanche.ca if you’ll be driving through mountain passes.
- Pack a roadside emergency kit for everyone in your vehicle, including any furry friends. For information on what to include, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC
- Drive according to weather conditions and make sure your vehicle is winter-ready. Between Oct. 1 and March 31, most B.C. highways require passenger vehicles to have snow tires.
Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General –
“Family Day is about enjoying some family time, and staying safe should be part of your plan. So please, drive clear-headed, focus on the road, buckle up, slow down, and ensure your vehicle has the right tires to get you safely to and from your destination.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“As we celebrate Family Day in our province, we know that there are many fantastic ways to #ExploreBC. Whether you decide to snowmobile, snowshoe, ski or hike, or if you prefer to visit a museum, attend a sporting event or concert, we want everyone to have fun and arrive home safely after their adventure.”
Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure –
“This Family Day long weekend, we want everyone to stay safe while travelling on the roads. With the severe winter weather conditions we have been experiencing in many areas of the province, including the Lower Mainland, motorists should be driving with extra caution and allowing more travelling distance between vehicles. And, we encourage everyone to ‘know before you go’ by checking DriveBC.ca before heading out on their journeys.”
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness –
“British Columbia is known for its beautiful backcountry, and the best way to enjoy it is in a safe and responsible manner. Residents and visitors to the province are urged to learn more about the necessary outdoor safety tools and techniques that could save a life. Outdoor enthusiasts can help themselves and others by being informed and staying avalanche-safe. Our government is encouraging those who venture into B.C.’s backcountry to understand the risks involved and take all necessary precautions.”
- On average, 5,700 people are injured and 24 killed in 19,000 road crashes every February in B.C.
- Speeding, distracted driving and impairment by alcohol and/or drugs are the leading contributing factors in fatalities on B.C. roads.
- Since the Province introduced tougher anti-drinking and driving legislation in 2010, there has been a 52% reduction in alcohol-related traffic deaths, resulting in more than 300 lives saved.
- Here are some key backcountry tips:
- Planning ahead is a must. Before you head outdoors, be sure to leave a trip-plan with a responsible individual and stick to it. For a printable copy of a trip-plan and to learn more about being safe when getting outdoors, visit: www.adventuresmart.ca
- Everyone in a backcountry party needs to be equipped with a shovel, probe and transceiver. More information on safety equipment is available at: http://ow.ly/5VXm30883PK
- Snowpack stability changes constantly throughout the winter. Backcountry users need to check avalanche bulletins regularly to keep informed of conditions in their area. Get the most recent bulletin and weather forecasts at: www.avalanche.ca
- Consider utilizing Avalanche Canada’s real-time, location-specific information through its Mountain Information Network at: www.avalanche.ca/mountain-information-network