Protect your vehicle from the wear and tear of winter driving
Snow, sleet and rain are some of the challenging conditions we experience when driving in our province. On many B.C. highways, these conditions only intensify in the winter, leading to wet, slushy and slippery surfaces.
To help keep our highways safe and navigable in winter weather conditions, maintenance crews use a combination of chemical snow and ice control applications, and winter abrasives: sand, salt and aggregate (small pebbles).
The sizes of these winter abrasives vary depending on which highways they’re being used. And, are closely monitored to ensure they meet standards outlined by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure—meaning the abrasives are large enough to provide traction but small enough to minimize potential vehicle damage.
Despite these measures, inadvertent vehicle damage does sometimes occur when driving on our highways in winter months.
BCAA offers the following tips on how to best avoid having your vehicle sustain damage from winter weather abrasives:
- If you come upon a section of highway that has recently been treated, stay well back from other vehicles (especially trucks, whose tires have deep tread and are more apt to pick up and throw pebbles and rocks).
- When passing, look for opportunities where the passing lane is clear ahead of you.
- Even in clear conditions, approach other vehicles cautiously. Even though the road surface hasn't been treated recently, rocks and pebbles may still be present.
- Leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Drive for the conditions—if you notice a lot of aggregate on the highway, slow down to avoid damaging your vehicle and the vehicles around you.
- Consider installing mud flaps to minimize the spray of aggregate from your vehicle’s tires.
Some of the inadvertent damages of highway driving can worsen if not repaired quickly. BCAA offers the following tips to help prevent further damage from occurring to your vehicle:
- Have small dents and paint and windshield chips repaired as soon as possible. When left untreated, these damages rust, spread or crack. Check with your insurance provider to see if your policy covers this type of damage.
- Thoroughly wash the outside of your vehicle after a long highway drive. Rinsing off salt and other chemical snow and ice control materials helps protect your vehicle's paint and avoid rust and corrosion on the undercarriage.