Winter roads

A weekly family column for the 100 Mile Free Press

In the last few weeks, it seems like there have been a lot of car crashes in the area, no doubt in part due to slippery winter conditions.

Personally, I’ve had some interesting winter driving experiences.

I’ve driven between the Cariboo to Whitehorse in the winter a couple of times; a drive that I consider to have all the dangers one would expect from Canadian winter driving (other than many the inexperienced winter drivers you seem to be likely to encounter in some of our more temperate cities).

Even if you spread the drive out over two days, it can be quite exhausting and put you at risk of driving fatigue. It’s got plenty of wildlife, from the more common threats like deer or moose and the smaller stuff like coyotes and foxes to the stuff you’re less likely to see on the road in the South Cariboo like wild horses or bison.

Road conditions have plenty of compacted snow and if you ever were to get stuck, go off the road, hit wildlife or have other relevant problems, it could be a very long way to help.

On one occasion, as a family we drove with two cars, switching drivers along the way.

Personally, a lot of the time, I find the wildlife scarier than the icy conditions.

Aside from the obvious stuff, this trip provided a threat I had not otherwise anticipated.

We had just passed through Prince George, coming back down. My brother was driving the car in front, while I was driving the one behind him. My mother was in the passenger seat of the first car, largely asleep. Suddenly, a large object came out from under the car my brother was driving and I hit the breaks.

Within a split second, it was clear to me what it was; what had (likely) been someone’s Christmas tree that had fallen off the back of their truck or car.

My brother hadn’t slowed down at all. It had taken most or all of his bumper off and he didn’t brake until my mom jolted awake asking him “what was that?”

I didn’t manage to make a full stop before driving over it but at the much slower speed, my car was completely fine.

Little did I know, that aside from wildlife, slippery roads and, to some extent, other drivers, you may have to watch for lost Christmas trees when driving around B.C. in the winter

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