If anyone tells you “Victoria shuts down in just an inch of snow fall” (with pun intended) don’t forget to remind them that the Prairies and the rest of BC don’t have the beautiful ocean at their doorstep.
With the ocean breeze comes a lot more moisture in the air resulting in extremely icy conditions that even a seasoned Alberta driver would have a hard time driving in (I speak from experience) Even cities like Calgary come to a halt on days when they get freezing rain… which is basically what Victoria snow days are.
So, here are some tips that may help…
1) Avoid any sudden braking.
You basically want to roll up to the red light.
If you typically apply your brake at 150ft from the point where you need to stop, double this distance and leave the last 20-50ft to simply roll up to the stopping point.
2) If you must, pump the brakes if you are having a hard time stopping.
This means firmly apply pressure to the brake pedal, release the brake, apply pressure again, release again and repeat as many times as needed.
If you simply slam the brake pedal, the chances of your car slipping and losing control are much higher.
3) Melting slow results in many puddles in our city.
People all too often get too confident in these conditions. The dangers of hydroplaning are very high in slushy-rain conditions.
What this means is that, if you are traveling fast enough over a puddle your tire actually glides over water and doesn’t grip on to the road.
If you are traveling at 50km/hr. you will partially hydroplane, 90km/hr. and faster you are completely hydroplaning.
4) If you are or have loved ones that are pedestrians, please remind them to take extra caution when crossing the road.
I cringe every time I see someone blindly cross the road in the snow with no awareness for the approaching car as it may not be able to stop.
Even that 5inch high sidewalk is not nearly enough to stop a car that has lost control.
So if you are walking up a curved hill for instance, don’t walk on the sidewalk where you are facing oncoming traffic, as you could be in the path of a vehicle that has lost control coming down a hill/curve.
It would be safer to perhaps consider walking on the side of the road where you are walking in the same direction as the cars trying to make it up the hill also.
5) Trying to stay in your own lane is very difficult to do when you can’t see the lane markings or the curb.
In extreme situations – just go with the flow, literally speaking.
This calls for some common sense, common courtesy and a sprinkle of patience.
It’s often safest to follow tracks from previous cars to ensure we maintain some sort of order on the roads.
If this is difficult to do it’s very important to maintain single file lines with other cars.