The list of serious crashes on area highways continues to grow, with the latest accident seeing a 28-year-old Prince George man transported to Vancouver with critical head and neck injuries from a head-on collision about 20 kilometres north of Quesnel mid-morning Tuesday.
The man was heading north on Highway 97 in a car when he crossed the centre line and into the path of a large pickup truck. The impact's force was severe enough to shear his seatbelt and eject him from the vehicle, Quesnel RCMP said.
The truck's driver, a 37-year-old man also from Prince George, suffered minor injuries.
In slightly less than three weeks, four people have died in collisions on area highways while at least three others have suffered serious injuries.
And many more are putting themselves in positions where they could get in deep trouble, according to Staff Sgt. Pat McTiernan, unit commander of the RCMP's Prince George regional traffic services.
"What we've noticed is people are not adjusting their driving to the winter conditions," McTiernan said Wednesday.
The fact that the temperature is hovering around the freezing point is not helping, he added.
"That confidence level is still there for dry or wet conditions and then five o'clock in the afternoon hits and everything freezes up a little bit and we're not changing our driving habits."
Posted speed limits are for optimal conditions, McTiernan said, yet he's seen several drivers going as much as 125 km/h in freezing rain and driving snow and, on the weekend when the first severe snowfall hit, one was clocked at 138 km/h.
Using cruise control during inclement weather is another bad habit McTiernan has come across.
"You don't use your cruise control in freezing rain and snow because when that car goes to go up a hill, it's going to gear down automatically to compensate for the hill and you're going to spin out," McTiernan said.
He also urged drivers to make sure their headlights are clean to help prevent them from overdriving their field of vision, particularly with the shorter daylight hours. Along with other traffic, deer and moose are out on the roads, so driving at a slower speed will give drivers the time to react, McTiernan said.
The dangerous driving is not limited to the general public. Several drivers of commercial vehicles have gone off the road because they were going too fast, according to McTiernan, whether they're going around a curve or are coming across problem traffic up ahead.
Police are out in force as a result.
"I came in this morning and I told all our guys, 'get out on the road, I want people to see you out there, I want you to slow people down,'" McTiernan said.