British Columbia

How to survive the snowpocalypse: Advice for Vancouver from the rest of Canada

As a potential snowstorm approaches southern B.C., the rest of Canada has our backs — even if they’re also gently mocking the way we handle the cold weather.

How you, your home and your car can survive an honest-to-goodness Canadian winter

On the ice world of Hoth, Luke Skywalker did not do well in the cold. Hopefully, British Columbians handle the potential storm coming to the region a little better. (starwars.com)

An honest-to-goodness Canadian winter is pretty rare in southern B.C., but don't worry — the rest of Canada has our back.

OK, you can be sure they're gently mocking how we're handling the cold weather, too, but as the region prepares for possible lows of –20 C this week, other Canadians have some tips.

For example, when it comes to winterizing your home, Judi Vandenbrink, the president of Eco-consulting in Calgary, says a good thing to do is an exterior walkabout to look for obvious openings in the home that can let the cold in.

"There's also insulators you can put behind light switches on the exterior walls," she told On The Coast's Jason D'Souza. "It would be very advisable to find these … it makes a huge difference."

Another tip of hers is to put plastic insulating film on windows to seal out the cold and also to examine the caulking and window stripping around doors

And don't forget to think of your furnace: Vandenbrink says now would be a good time to check out the filter and make sure it's clean in order to increase efficiency.

Stay safe on the roads

Even though it was a video of Montreal's winter traffic chaos that captured international attention this week, British Columbians, especially in Vancouver, are routinely mocked for their winter driving.

Evan Gamblin, an instructor at the Motorsport Club of Ottawa's Winter Driving School, says it doesn't have to be such an adventure.

Clean snow off the vehicle, even from the roof, he says. Leave long gaps for stopping distance. And if you start to skid or slide down a hill, remember to pump your brakes if you don't have anti-lock brakes, and in any case, steer where you want to go.

Police are warning drivers to be prepared for winter conditions and give themselves extra time on Friday morning to get to work. (West Vancouver Police Department/Twitter)

"You should try and stay out of existing wheel marks if you can … snow will usually give you more traction than an area someone's been spinning their tires in," he said.

"If all else fails, just pull over to the side of the road and let other folks by. That's the best advice I can give you."

Gamblin says to consider getting winter tires — they may be pricey, but they're probably cheaper than an accident.

Dress to impress — or at least to stay warm

But if you have to brave the elements outside the comfort of your home or car, Cam Dempster with Mountain Equipment Co-op in Toronto says you want to limit the amount of skin you have exposed.

Get a hat and consider face protection if things are windy, for example.

"Avoid cotton socks or something that's not going to move moisture away from your body," he said. "[Footwear] with some really great traction can be really helpful in those icy situations."

And if you're planning on getting some outdoor activity, consider wearing wool, which can keep the moisture from sweating off your body.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

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