Tuesday July 29, 2014


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Drive safe on slushy streets

Allison Gibbard Photo

Due to the warmer temperatures, some of the roads in the Peace Region have begun to look more like large puddles, which could cause a driving hazard if people aren’t paying close attention.

While the warmer temperatures are a nice change and mean less bundling up, it also means more attention is needed while driving as the roads thaw out.

According to the Environment Canada website, on Jan. 15 the temperature high was 8.7 C in Dawson Creek and 6.5 C in Fort St. John. Warmer temperatures like these caused the roads in the Peace Region to become a little sloppy.

Dawson Creek Sgt. Scott West reminds citizens to drive to the weather conditions.

“Slow down, be careful, make eye contact with pedestrians, give people plenty of room and just be more patient. The slower you go, the less of a chance that your vehicle is going to get push or pulled because of ruts into a parked car or into an oncoming car,” explained West.

It’s not uncommon for the Peace Region to have the odd chinook breeze through the area and bring with it warmer weather and some slush. However, Fort St. John Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said she believes that the large amount of snow that’s hit the Peace Region this year has created an additional quantity.

“Just because of the amount of snow, there is a lot more slush this year, so people need to be extra cautious.”

In order to make sure that you are driving in the safest manner possible, Shelkie recommends paying close attention to certain areas of the road.

“As far as safety goes, again, give yourself the time, Be really cautious on the corners, on roads that haven’t been plowed clear down to the road and also in the middle of the road where there’s sometimes piled up snow. You don’t want to get your inside tires caught in that because it can suck you in,” she explained.

However, for people who’ve lived in the Peace Region for a long period of time, having a melting point in the winter isn’t anything new.

“We don’t see any major issues around our region when that happens because people kind of know what to expect and they [the city] do keep the main routes in fairly good shape, it’s more the residential streets that do that,” noted West.

“It is typical because we’re known for having chinooks and then [it] getting really cold in a hurry,” Shelkie also explained.

However, West himself explained that because the warmer temperatures make everything mess, he’d rather see the weather sit at -5 C to -10 C West explained he’d rather the temperature stays a little colder.

Those people who have winter tires shouldn’t think that they’re immune to the current weather conditions.

“When it’s really slushy like this, there’s points on the roads, specifically on corners and also hidden pot holes where the slush is deep and it grabs at the tires. Even though we promote having winter tires on that give you the extra grip with water and ice, when you’re driving though that quicksand type slush, the tires aren’t going to help you any,” explained Shelkie.

The only way to ensure that you drive safely, according to Shelkie, “It’s slowing down and being focused and having both hands on the steering wheel, that’s going to help you there.”

While the temperature forecast is scheduled to stay a little warmer for the next couple of days, according to the Environment Canada website, by Saturday the temperature is set to go back down to approximately -15 C which means the driving conditions could be changing suddenly in the next week.

Shelkie said that’s all part of living in the Peace Region.

“In this region, you’ve got to be adaptable to whatever type of conditions are out there. While you want to take your time in all conditions, just be aware that once it freezes, it’s going to be icy and you’re not going to have the contraction you had before.” Shelkie added that while the conditions are slushy, “there’s going to be extra tractions pulling your tires in places you don’t want to go. Once it freezes and gets icy then you’re going to have way less traction. You’re going to need more time to stop and to make correcting moves and things like that.”



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