Driving Safely

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Car accidents[edit]

What should you do if you have an accident?[edit]

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If you have an accident, you MUST stop and help.

  1. If it is safe to do so, pull over to the side of the road so you do not block traffic.
  2. If you can get out of the vehicle, find out if anyone is hurt.
  3. If you or others are seriously injured, call 911.
  4. Write down the other driver's:
    • name, address and phone number,
    • driver’s licence number,
    • vehicle licence plate number, and
    • vehicle registration and insurance information.
  5. Get the name, address and phone number of anyone who saw the accident.
  6. Report the accident to ICBC as soon as possible:
    • Phone the Dial-a-Claim centre:
    Lower Mainland: 604-520-8222
    Elsewhere in BC: 1-800-910-4222
    • You can also report the accident online. Use the online claim report. To find the online claim report, go to the ICBC website at www.icbc.com. Select "Claims."

ICBC has a “Claim Card” online that can help you collect the details you need. The Claim Card is available in English, Punjabi and Chinese. To find the Claim Card, go to the ICBC website. Select "Claims."

If you have any pain[edit]

  • Go to a doctor. Make a note of your injuries or have someone do it for you. Be sure to report all your injuries to the doctor.
  • Talk to a lawyer before you make your claim to ICBC. You have a right to do this.

Reporting to the police[edit]

Phone 911 and report the accident to the police if:

  • Anyone has been hurt or killed.
  • You think the damage to the cars will cost more than $1,000.
  • The other driver broke the law. For example, the driver was drunk or he drove through a red light.
  • Another driver hit your vehicle and drove away (hit and run).

If it is not an emergency, report the accident within 24 hours. Call the non-emergency phone number. You can find the non-emergency number on the first inside page of your phone book.

Drinking and driving[edit]

British Columbia has very strict laws about drinking and driving. Alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine and liquor, can make you an impaired driver. If you cause an accident while drinking and driving, you may have to pay a fine, or go to jail. ICBC may not pay the costs if you cause an accident after you have been drinking. You may have to pay the costs yourself. Your insurance may also cost more.

If you are caught drinking and driving[edit]

The police can stop you to check if you have been drinking alcohol.

Police can ask you to provide a breath sample into a roadside screening device. The device measures how much alcohol you have in your blood.

If you are caught driving with a blood-alcohol content over 0.05:

  • You will lose your driver’s licence immediately.
  • You will pay a fine.
  • You may also lose your vehicle. If you do, you will pay all the towing and storage fees.
  • You will pay to get your licence back.

In addition to these penalties, you can be charged with a crime and have to go to court if:

  • you are caught driving with a blood-alcohol content over 0.08, or
  • you refuse to provide a breath sample.

If you are found guilty in court, you can:

  • be prohibited from driving for at least a year, and
  • pay more for car insurance.

If you are caught using drugs and driving[edit]

When you are driving, police can stop you and check to see if you have been taking drugs. They can order you to give them samples of blood, oral fluid or urine.

Seat belts and child car seats[edit]

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In British Columbia, all drivers and passengers must wear seat belts. There is a fine for not wearing a seat belt.

British Columbia also has rules about using child car seats.

  • Children from birth to over 9 kilos (20 pounds) must sit in a baby seat in the middle of the back seat, facing the back of the car.
  • Children between 9 and 18 kilos (20 to 40 pounds) must sit in a child safety seat in the back seat.
  • Children until they reach 145 cm or 4’9” must sit in a booster seat that raises them to the correct level for the seat belts.

Keep all children in the back seat until 12 years of age, away from active airbags.

In some communities, the local fire hall will check your child car seat to make sure it is safe.

For more information, call the free BCAA Child Passenger Safety Program at 1-877-247-5551. You can also go online for child passenger safety information at www.bcaa.com/road-safety.

Traffic tickets[edit]

You must pay a fine if the police catch you breaking traffic laws, such as driving through a red light or driving faster than the speed limit.

Drivers who break a traffic law also get driver penalty points on their driving record. For example, you get three driver penalty points for speeding. Drivers with more than three points in one year must pay extra money to ICBC for their insurance.

You might get a traffic ticket you do not think is fair. Or you might have been charged the wrong amount. If so, you have 30 days to fight the ticket.

To find out how to fight a traffic ticket, go to www.clicklaw.bc.ca. Go to the section called “Solve Problems” and search for "traffic ticket."

Cell phones[edit]

When you are driving, it is against the law to use a hand-held cell phone or any other electronic device you hold in your hands.

Learner or novice drivers cannot use any cell phone and electronic devices, including those that are hands-free.


The laws in Canada about people crossing the road are different from those in many other countries. Drivers must stop and wait for pedestrians in a crosswalk or in an intersection.


Any place where two streets meet is an intersection. At an intersection, you must stop if you see pedestrians waiting to cross the road.

When you approach any intersection, look left and right to see if there are pedestrians waiting to cross.

If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be waiting for a person to cross the road, so be prepared to stop.


The roads in our cities and town have crosswalks. They can be marked by:

  • white lines across the road,
  • flashing lights, or
  • traffic lights.

Drivers must always stop if anyone is walking in a crosswalk.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by People's Law School, 2011.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International LicenceDriving in BC © People's Law School is, except for the images, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

A person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor."

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