Watch for road conditions if heading out this Family Day weekend

Road closures, warnings in effect around the Kootenays

Staff reporter

The Ministry of Transporation issued a storm and heavy snowfall warning for the Kootenays ahead of the Family Day long weekend.

Highway 93 through Kootenay National Park was shut down Thursady, February 8th but has been reopened according to Drive BC Friday morning.

Highway 1 is closed from Golden to the Alberta border east of Field because of high avalanche hazard. Estimated time of opening as of Friday morning is noon Friday, February 9th.

It is important that everyone stays safe, as heavy snowfall, freezing rain, poor visibility and icy conditions are expected to continue, the ministry comments.

Road conditions can change quickly in British Columbia, and while maintenance crews strive to keep routes safe and in the best possible condition, people must use caution and slow down when they encounter bad weather or limited visibility. Driving to current conditions will improve safety for everyone on the road.

Drivers are also encouraged to get the best tires they can for their vehicles. Winter tire regulations are in effect until March 31, and motorists should ensure their vehicle has tires with the mountain/snowflake or mud and snow (M + S) symbol when travelling on designated routes. For extreme winter weather conditions, tires with the mountain/snowflake symbol provide the best traction and handling.

Crashes can be prevented when motorists are prepared. Here are some helpful tips for traveling in winter driving conditions this long weekend:

* Check the weather forecast and adjust travel times to more favourable conditions, or choose alternate routes.

* For current road conditions, check DriveBC before you leave, as well as the nearly 700 highway webcam views available at more than 380 locations throughout B.C.

* Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement while driving, but bring warm clothing (winter boots, coat, gloves and hat) in case you need to get out of your vehicle.

* Have an emergency plan, and ensure your vehicle is equipped with a windshield scraper and snow brush, food and water, a first aid kit and other emergency supplies.

* If you get stuck or stranded, don’t panic. Stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth, and if you have a cell phone, call for roadside assistance. If there is an emergency, call 911.

Heavy snowfall can increase the risk of avalanches in some areas. This can cause temporary highway closures, while ministry avalanche experts ensure safe conditions. During these times, please obey all traffic control personnel.

Learn More:

For more tips on planning ahead during winter driving conditions, go to: https://shiftintowinter.ca/

For travel information, available 24/7, go to: www.DriveBC.ca

Mobile-friendly site: www.DriveBC.ca/mobile

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