Slip, slide, collide
Winter driving conditions can be a danger to both drivers and pedestrians.
On Nov. 2, first-year university student Kristie Lafond discovered just how dangerous drivers are when the road conditions are less than perfect.
It was just after 10 p.m. when Lafond left her home to meet a friend. She used the walkway that leads from the front of her house to the road, placing her approximately 15 to 20 feet from the nearest crosswalk. She had almost completely crossed the street when she was struck by a vehicle.
“I looked both ways before I crossed, I wasn’t being dumb,” Lafond said. “And this car kind of just came out of nowhere and bing, bang, boom, I was on the ground.”
The road conditions were slippery that day due to some light snowfall.
Lafond said she had noticed the car turning the corner down the street and assumed she had enough time to cross.
After the car had nicked her legs, she said the driver stopped and rolled down his window.
“He asked me where I came from and why I didn’t use the crosswalk,” she said. “And then when I moved to go behind the car, he left.”
Later she noticed the car had left its mark.
“My legs were bruised, that was the only thing that physically showed but I was sore from head to toe,” Lafond said. “And I had headaches for the next three days.”
“When I talked to the police officer, he said, ‘depending on how far you are from the curb, you could have been jaywalking. So it could have been your fault.’” – Kristie Lafond
On Nov. 3, she went to the Regina Police Service to file a report. Although the report would help Lafond if she would require medical attention, the officer said the driver may not have been at fault.
“When I talked to the police officer, he said, ‘depending on how far you are from the curb, you could have been jaywalking. So it could have been your fault,’” Lafond said. “And so it was just really surprising to me because I wasn’t that far from the crosswalk … It wasn’t something I really wanted to hear because I was still in shock from the accident.”
While both driver and pedestrian may have been at fault in this scenario, it still points out how cautious both parties must be on the roads, especially in winter.
“I’m not quite sure why people forget their good winter driving skills, but I think everyone experiences that a little bit, where you start out in that first snowfall and realize right away that you don’t have the traction that you thought you had, that you might require a greater stopping distance to a complete stop,” Elizabeth Popowich, manger of public information at the Regina Police Service said. “It takes everyone a little bit of time to get into their winter driving habits and, unfortunately, some people don’t allow for that transition, or they’re unprepared for it.”
The weekend of Nov. 9, Regina experienced approximately 25 centimetres of snow. According to Popowich, in the first 24 hours, there were a total of 37 property damage collisions, including three where drivers failed to remain at the scene. For the entire weekend, there were a total of 64 collisions, including four injury collisions.
The number of claims SGI received from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16 shows there is an increase in the number of accidents that occur when it snows.
In Regina, there were 863 claims involving single or two vehicle accidents during this week. Province-wide, there were 2,200 claims.
“For some reason it takes us a little bit to become acclimatized again,” Popowich said. “And in those first few hours, we tend to experience a lot of collisions. I think it’s just a matter of drivers needing to remember that white stuff is snow and with it brings a whole required set of driving skills.”
Photo courtesy Tenielle Bogdan