SURREY (NEWS1130) – The Insurance Corporation of BC says the number of pedestrian injuries more than doubles in Metro Vancouver in November and December, compared to July and August. Province-wide, translating to an 80 per cent increase.  ICBC is blaming early darkness and bad weather for the spike in collisions.

There have been multiple accidents in Metro Vancouver over the past few days, including one today.  A young woman was struck this morning in Surrey at 78th and 122nd.  The driver remained at the scene and is cooperating with police; the woman is expected to be okay.

But police are still looking for drivers after three separate hit-and-run accidents since this weekend. That includes deadly crashes in Mission and Vancouver, and a collision that injured two joggers in Surrey.

Psychologist John Vavrik with ICBC says drivers need to think about what they would do if they struck a pedestrian.  “I think the key is to kind of plan for it.  I know that no one expects this to happen but you kind of have to set your moral compass before you set out on the road,” he adds.

He says if you think about your response before being confronted with the ugly reality of hitting a pedestrian “you don’t have to rely on gut instinct once you are in that type of situation.”

“In the long run it is far more advantageous (to remain at the scene of the accident),” says Vavrik.  “I’m going to save myself a lot of grief, a lot of burden of guilt, and I’m also going to make it much easier for families of the victims, and friends, to basically help heal and not waste energies and emotional resources on wondering why this happened.”

News1130′s legal analyst, Michael Shapray, agrees that the best course of action after hitting a pedestrian with your car is to stay at the scene.  “I think a lot of times people panic and the reality is that unless someone is culpable criminally for an accident they are not going to be charged,” he adds.

The lawyer says people who panic and leave the scene of the crash should do the right thing as soon as they calm down.

“The people who come forward quickly, as soon as the adrenalin has stopped flowing, will often be credited with that action, for coming forward, and not creating a whole police investigation,” says Shapray.  “When it comes down to being sentenced on the issue of leaving the scene, that will be a mitigating factor that will be looked at by the courts.”

Not coming forward, and being caught by the cops, will likely be an aggravating factor for the judge.