Ready to hit the road this winter and explore the snow-covered outdoors of HCC? Before you do, we’ve listed a plethora of tips below on how to travel safely in our area while you adventure through all kinds of beautiful winter scenery!
6 Tips for safe driving in winter conditions
- Use the weather forecast, DriveBC Map, and/or webcams to check driving conditions.
- When driving, do not use cruise control. Keep both hands on the wheel as much as possible and be alert.
- Remember to slow down and give yourself extra time to reach your destination so that you are not rushing.
- Try to anticipate when there is a stop coming up so that you can slow down gradually.
- Steer and accelerate smoothly and precisely to avoid skidding.
- Dress appropriately for winter driving, especially when traveling on our highways (most notably the Coquihalla). Check out this video from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for more info!
Essentials to Keep in Your Car All Winter
An Emergency Kit -Your vehicle should always have an emergency kit in it, especially in the winter. Follow this link to the Emergency Car Kit page on the Government of Canada website for more info on what to pack in yours.
Road Maps – These can be picked up at the Hope, Cascades & Canyons Visitor Centre!
Extra Clothes – It’s always good to have extra clothes in case you need to layer up or change out of wet gear.
Highway 1, 3 and 5 require winter tires from October 1st to April 30th. Tires with the 3 peaked mountain logo are ideal for winter weather. At a minimum, your tires must have the “M+S” symbol on them. Also, be sure to check that your tires for the winter season have enough tread before you need them. There should be at least 3.5 millimetres of tread across the entire width of the tire at the start of the season.
Learn more about identifying winter tires with this video from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Although you will likely not need chains, we advise that you know how to install them and have them in your vehicle at all times in case of extreme weather conditions.
What to Wear
Dressing for not only the current weather but the potential weather is important for maximizing your comfort while you’re adventuring in HCC’s sometimes chilly winter climate! Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
Layering is a great way to stay cozy and comfortable in our outdoor weather. On your top half, it’s ideal to have at least three layers: base, mid and outer. Your base layer should be a long sleeve shirt that is thin, warm, and fitted to wick away sweat. Your mid-layer(s) can be a looser sweater or a fleece to provide warmth. For your outer layer, you can go with a warm winter jacket or wind and waterproof shell. On the top half of your body, you can use two layers although three layers work as well. If you’re using two layers, we recommend a base layer and an outer layer.
Be sure to have warm socks, gloves, a scarf/neckwarmer, and a warm hat that covers your ears.
Proper footwear is an essential part of winter preparedness. You’ll want to find a proper balance of comfort, warmth, breathability, and obviously, style.
For additional grip, purchase a set of crampons. They’re small and lightweight, making them easy to bring with you on any adventure in our area.
Where to Shop for your Outdoor Gear
If you’ve read through our tips on what to wear this winter and realized that you need to do some shopping, stop in and see our friends at Hope Outdoors! The owners and operators, Lily and Daniel, are always happy to share their expert opinions and advice on preparing for and exploring our beautiful outdoors!
How to Explore Safely
What to Pack
Here are ten essentials that you should have with you when exploring our outdoor areas:
- Navigation (fully charged phone or GPS)
- Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
- First Aid
- Tools (Duct tape, multitool, and a digging tool)
- Fire building kit
- Tarp (for a makeshift shelter)
- Food & Water
- Clothes: Bring extra clothes to change into or layer up with in case of sudden temperature drops or worsening weather conditions.
Know Your Limits
Explore within your own comfort zone and abilities. Be sure to study trails and their reviews before you venture out.
Know Before you Go
It’s important, especially in the winter, to have all the details of your adventure planned out before you go. Check the weather ahead of time, right before you go, and frequently during your adventure as it can change quickly.
Now that you are prepared to explore our area safely, we are looking forward to having you out for a visit! Areas like the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area and Manning Park are absolutely incredible in the winter as the snow covers their dazzling landscapes. Be sure to tag us at @tourismhcc and use our hashtag, #ExploreHCC, so that we can see the wonderful adventures that you have!
Other Useful Winter Travel Resources
How to Dress for Winter’s Worst
Black Ice: What It Is and How to Handle It
A Winter Reminder: Don’t Pass Snow Plows with Flashing Lights
How to Pack Your Vehicle Emergency Kit in 15 Seconds
How to Measure Tire Tread Depth in 15 Seconds
More Tips and How-Tos from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure