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For British Columbians, in particular those of us who commute in the Lower Mainland or Fraser Valley, getting stuck in traffic is an unfortunate reality. The recent snowy conditions made the traffic situation even worse. Thankfully, there’s an abundance of resources available designed specifically to help drivers shave minutes off their routes and stay up-to-date on possible construction and traffic delays.

A report commissioned by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) was recently released identifies Canada’s worst traffic bottlenecks. Out of the top 20 worst highway bottlenecks, ten were located in Toronto, five in Montreal, four in Vancouver and one in Quebec City. The study also found that collectively, these congested stretches of highway cost Canadian drivers over 11.5 million hours and an extra 22 million litres of fuel per year.

In fact, according to Green Action Centre, every 10 minutes of idling could cost you between one-tenths to four-tenths of a liter of fuel. In addition, anything over 10 seconds of idling time could use more fuel than shutting off and restarting your vehicle.

Traffic jams – big or small – are a major source of stress for Canadians. The wasted time and fuel cumulated each year is enough to make any Canadian driver’s blood boil.

Fortunately, technology available today is advanced enough to provide us with traffic updates before even heading out the door. In Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, AM730 broadcasts traffic updates on the radio 24 hours a day. AM730 also updates their twitter feed (@AM730Traffic) with by the minute traffic updates (remember only use your phone hands-free please!).

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website is also a good resource for information about safety, new technologies, regulations, and general transportation-related topics that impact British Columbians.

For ongoing and developing highway events, the excellent Drive BC website ( offers a real-time map to plan your route around major events and border delays using B.C. highway webcams. Users are also encouraged to report highway problems to keep data on highway conditions up-to-date – however, make sure that when you are doing this you’re safely stopped off the road before reaching for your cell phone, or using a hands-free device.

AM730, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Drive BC also have active and robust presences on Twitter and will tweet updated traffic conditions in real time for followers to check before heading out to their destination.

On iOS and Android devices, free apps like Waze can be easily downloaded so that drivers can check their route prior to departing.

As with all these online tools, limitations and issues revolve around lack of data – road conditions are always changing and can transform in a split second. Radio broadcasts and Twitter feeds can also be geographically irrelevant to where you are.

In a column a couple of weeks ago, I talked about the advances in modern-day navigation systems. For drivers willing to invest in GPS systems, many of the newer models come with real-time traffic data that are either free with the purchase of the system or through a subscription. The biggest attraction to using traffic data in conjunction with a GPS system is that you’ll spend even less time sitting in gridlock – the system will map out the most efficient alternate routes and correct your routing if an accident happens ahead of you.

For the latest in navigation systems and in-vehicle traffic-information services, visit the 2017 Vancouver International Auto Show from March 28 to April 2 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Tickets are on sale now, for more information visit:

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].