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Check road conditions before heading out

Here, There & Everywhere by Lindsey Kuglin

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m sure enjoying these snow-free past couple of days.

For weeks, I have not been able to drive the speed limit, stuck going well below because it was either too slippery and I was afraid of losing control of my little car and spinning out into a) the ditch, or b) an oncoming transport truck, or because I couldn’t see five feet in front of my face.

When I was a teenager, I loved winter driving. Probably because I was driving my parents’ car and I didn’t have to worry about repair costs or insurance if anything ever happened. I also had that teenage invincibility complex. I would actually speed up when I saw a snow drift, because I liked the feel of the pull. Mind you, I was driving a gigantic pickup truck, which can take a drift much better than a small car. I also had a lot better eyesight back then. But I didn’t seem to have any fear either.

Now, after being in a couple minor winter-related bang ups that ended up costing literally thousands of dollars, I am a little more cautious when heading out on roads that look like our front page picture. I have to weigh the pros and cons pretty seriously before I go out.

And I do take winter driving more seriously now more than ever. I started this year out visiting my precious niece in the intensive care unit in Hamilton after the car she was in hit ice on a bend in the road and flipped several times. Seeing that vivacious little girl that I love so much with a tube down her throat and hooked up to a hundred machines, swollen and battered, I never felt so mortal. I’m so thankful that she made it out. Unfortunately, not everyone in that car did. My niece is still in the hospital over a month later, with a scar spanning her entire torso and a broken (but healing) body.

So how worth it is it to travel during a snow storm? While it used to be a rush for me, I realize now it’s nothing like a rollercoaster. At the risk of sounding dramatic (I think the above testimony gives me the right) it can be a life and death decision. It could be one that leaves you or someone else out of commission for months. At the very least, it can be a very expensive decision.

If the weather is sketchy, do yourself and everyone else a favour and check the roads. Bruce County Highways updates road conditions several times a day on their website: www.brucecounty.on.ca, and the MTO also posts road conditions on provincially maintained highways at www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/conditions/.

If you do head out, please remember to turn on the headlights (especially if you have a white or silver car), so other drivers can see you better.

Though it’s kind of nice out now, it’s not over yet. Environment Canada expects more crazy snow storms this winter. Let’s be safe.

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