opinion teaser

Winter is here, whether we want it or not

We’ve spent months practicing our skills in keeping ourselves safe: washing our hands, wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

For the most part, it may be safe to say that we’re getting the hang of it (well, most of us).

Now that the white stuff has fallen to the ground, and stuck, with more on the way, it may be time to start practicing safe social (or rather physical) distancing — of our cars.

The snowfall that hit us a couple weeks ago came and went, just a mere taste of what was to come. A reminder that, “Hey, you know that cold, sometimes sticky form of H2O that can create a winter wonderland scene? Yeah … it can also create havoc on roads, effectively turning winter-graded tires into ice skates, establishing a new game of highway curling.”

This isn’t to say that winter driving is a no-no, nor is it hard to do.

All one needs is a good snow brush, some extra time and space, as well as a little patience.

Let’s start with the snow brush, shall we?

Anyone ever see those videos showing sheets of ice flying off of one vehicle and into the windshield of the videographer? A bit extreme, maybe, but not dismissable. Having a good 360 degree view is key. Some of our intersections can be a little shady, so the ability to see as far as possible will help to ensure you have enough time to slowly skid your way across Highway 5.

Speaking of time, and space, imagine the physical distancing measures put in place by health professionals, but instead of metres, we’ll use seconds.

The “Shift into Winter” program suggest four seconds between vehicles. To do this, pick something, such as a sign, and count how long it takes you to reach that sign after the car in front of you has. Less than four seconds? Give that vehicle it’s space.

Finally, patience. You know they always say, “Patience is a virtue,” though that always seems to just create more impatience.

We all know that a good 4×4 SUV or pickup with a great set of tires, and even some chains, can make it feel like one can scale mountains, especially when the person in front of you may be having a tiny problem getting their 4-door sedan up one of numerous hills around town.

But allowing some patience for others, while also giving yourself some extra time for your travels, can make a world of difference and help to keep all stress levels down. Remember, everyone is trying to get somewhere, and everyone wants to get there safely.

Drive safe out there.