The return of winter driving

After lulling the valley into a false sense of security for the last few weeks, it appears Mother Nature is striking back with a vengeance.

After lulling the valley into a false sense of security for the last few weeks, it appears Mother Nature is striking back with a vengeance.

Current weather forecasts suggest the weekend’s snow dump is only the beginning of a week of flurries, ice pellets and “mixed precipitation.”

It’s a good start to one of the busiest weekends in the valley in the post-Christmas season, if you’re looking forward to some time on the ski hills or a lake thick enough for safe skating. But not so much fun if long haul travel is in the plans.

Though an investigation into a fatal crash this weekend is still ongoing, slippery road conditions already appear to be taking some of the blame for the sad incident.

Each winter, B.C. gets inundated with safe driving tips from all sorts of sources. The RCMP, WorkSafe BC, the province and plenty of newspaper editorialists.

Going through the lists, a lot of it boils down to ‘take your time.’ Be ready to slow down and drive to conditions, stay at least four seconds behind other cars, etcetera.

WorkSafe, which maintains a winter driving website that’s almost exhaustively detailed (found at worksafebc.com/Topics/RoadSafety/Home.asp) has a few more good ones.

Bring along your warm, puffy coat, but if it’s going to restrict your ability to move while behind the wheel, keep it stashed in the back seat for times when you have to get out.

Take advantage of tech, to check for highway reports and weather conditions where you’re heading.

And then there’s the mother of all winter driving tips — if you can stay home and the roads are bad, try to. In a spread out, rural area (and in the midst of minor hockey season), that’s not always an easy one to follow. But when possible, it’s worth taking into account.

Mostly, just try to take it easy out there. Better to blame “valley time” and arrive safely.

The Valley Echo