142046
139975
Achieving-Justice

White-knuckle driving time

Winter tire season has arrived. They’re required on most British Columbia highways from the beginning of October until the end of March.

A reader prompted the topic, asking:

“I live in Kelowna and do not have the proper winter tires, just all seasons. If I drive to West Kelowna after Oct. 1, with no snow or ice on the road, is my ICBC insurance covered if I get into an accident with all season tires?”

I love questions. Please, send them my way!

The short answer is yes, but I’m incapable of giving a short answer.

It would still be yes even if the road was covered in ice and snow.

Except in very narrow circumstances, such as impaired driving, breaking driving laws doesn’t invalidate your ICBC insurance.

You can blow through red lights and stop signs, speed through school zones, drive in the winter on bald summer tires, have your nose in your phone texting, or be taking and sending nudie selfies.

Or you can have such a gross lack of awareness of the road ahead of you that you crash into the back of a stopped vehicle, which represents fully 50 per cent of my personal injury case load.

Unless amounting to a criminal offence, none of that would invalidate your ICBC insurance.

That might be part of the problem.

The risk of hurting someone else or ourselves, and an increase of insurance premiums, are clearly insufficient to have a real impact on driving behaviour.

But that’s not entirely fair.

For the most part, those who cause crashes are clueless about their dangerous driving behaviour.

Keeping between the lines, stopping for red lights and keeping track of speed limits is just too easy. The activity of driving has become the “background noise” of a commute, freeing our consciousness to wander.

And unless something unexpected occurs at a moment when our minds are elsewhere, we get away with it. That lulls us into the fantasy that we can drive safely without being constantly attentive to driving.

Winter tires contribute to the fantasy.

With good winter tires, we can drive in most winter driving conditions almost as if we are on bare roads.

Winter road conditions blend into the background noise, rather than being constantly on our minds. And we get away with it. Until something unexpected happens.

I grew up on a farm near Melville, Sask. We didn’t have winter tires.

I remember learning to drive on those winter highways, white knuckled. I was taught never to trust the road surface and to continually test traction.

I was a safer driver, on those “all seasons," than all those winter-tire equipped 4x4 drivers bombing around without a care in the world.

Most highways in B.C. require winter tires from Oct. 1 through the end of March. Please obey the law.

But please don’t let those tires lull you into a false sense of security.

And please be exquisitely aware that winter road conditions do not neatly begin on Oct. 1 and end on March 31.

If you come out to this year’s Kelowna commemoration of the National Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, you can meet a grieving father who lost his daughter due to overdriven winter conditions in April, 2017.

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.



More Achieving Justice articles

140720
About the Author

Paul Hergott began practicing law in 1995, in a general litigation practice. Of the various areas of litigation, he became most drawn to, and passionate about, pursuing fair compensation for injured victims. This gradually became his exclusive area of practice.

In 2007, Paul opened Hergott Law, a boutique personal injury law firm in the Central Interior, serving personal injury clients from all over British Columbia. Paul’s practice is restricted to acting only for the injured victim, never for ICBC or for other insurance companies.

Paul became a weekly newspaper columnist in January of 2007, when his first column entitled “It’s not about screwing the Insurance Company” was published. 

Please feel free to email or call Paul (1.855.437.4688) with legal issues you might like him to write about in his column, or to offer your feedback about something he has written.

Email:   [email protected]
Firm website:  www.hlaw.ca
Achieving Justice Legal Blog:  http://www.hlaw.ca/category/all-columns/
One Crash is Too Many Road Safety Campaign: www.onecrashistoomany.com
Google Plus:  https://plus.google.com/+HlawCanada/posts
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/personalinjurylawfirm
Twitter:   twitter.com/Hergott_Law



141083
The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories



140991


136044