Winter Driving Woes

I’m not looking forward to this again…

I’m not looking forward to this again…

On average, the winter months see 8,311 collisions in Saskatchewan

 Article: Alec Salloum – News Writer

Well, damn it, winter has reared its ugly head once again and Saskatchewanians are bracing for its impact.  Among all the concerns and issues we have to endure in the foreseeable future, horribly cold weather, frost bite, cars not starting, diminished hours of sunlight, we also have the perils of winter driving to look forward to.

We have already seen freezing rain and snow hit the city and south Saskatchewan. Global Regina reported that the Regina Police Department had already responded to 22 accidents on Monday, Nov. 11 in the morning alone.  In addition, Nov. 16 saw even more snow and deteriorated driving conditions.

A major issue faced by many drivers in the winter is ice.  This can be aggravated further when travel on highways or higher-speed motorways, such as the Ring Road and the Lewvan, is unavoidable.  This has been an issue facing many Rider fans trying to make it to Calgary for the Western Division Final, as many highways have fallen under winter weather warnings.  The RCMP issued a warning to all drivers on Highway 1 East of Calgary bad news for traveling Rider fans.

Jennifer Leflar, Communications Supervisor at SGI, was able to provide statistics on winter driving and what months pose the greatest danger to Saskatchewan drivers.

“On average over the winter months (December, January, and February) in the province there are 8,311 collisions resulting in 1,625 injuries and 33 deaths each year,” Leflar said.

Though this is substantial, it is not the definitively worst season for driving.  According to SGI statistics, the worst month for driving is November, which, in turn, makes the fall months the worst.  The fall months, on three-year average like the aforementioned winter statistics, witnessed 8,589 collisions resulting in 1,990 injuries and 47 deaths.  However, November accounted for 3,666 of these collisions.

Given the stark nature of road conditions in the coming months, drivers, especially new ones, are feeling some anxiety.  Neil Cowan, a business student at the University of Regina, is a relatively new driver who will be experiencing winter driving for the first time.

When asked about it, he said, “I am incredibly nervous about driving this winter, the roads here are incredibly slippery and dangerous.”

This a fair point, especially when considering the recent snowfall and icy conditions.  Cowan does seem to have a history with Regina’s poor road conditions.

“A couple years ago I twisted my ankle walking in the winter, so I’m not looking forward to testing my driving abilities on ice.”

So, in light of these circumstances, there are steps that can be taken. Leflar provided several tips for winter driving, for experienced and inexperienced drivers.  One point that all drivers should consider is “leaving more distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, so you have more time to stop.” Fender benders and other such accidents account for a great deal of reported collisions in the winter months, so know your car and know its braking capabilities.

Also, “give yourself extra time to get to your destination.” Being in a hurry can have severe consequences when conditions are poor.  Taking time in the winter months is imperative for safe driving.  Defrost your windows, clean your mirrors, and make sure visibility is unobstructed.  Winter tires also need to be considered when driving this winter.  Without question they will help to cope with ice and snow in the city and on highways.

Ultimately, drivers need to be aware of the conditions they are driving in and adjust accordingly, reduce speed, be aware of your location and keep your composure!

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