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Drivers still shocked by first snowfall

Well, that was a fairly good fall of the white stuff in the past week, wasn’t it?

As happens every year in Prince George (and every other Canadian city, I’m sure), I am amazed at the number of people who apparently forgot the basics of winter driving in the few months since the last snow left the city streets.

One of the more common sights of the first few days on winter on Prince George streets was noticeably absent to me this year: Drivers sliding into intersections as they assumed they could stop as easily on snow and ice as they could on bare pavement. While it would be nice to think this showed a more intelligent approach to the situation by drivers, I did seem to see more drivers speeding up when the light turned yellow to get through, even if the light was already red by the time they entered the intersection.

I heard about a number of fender-benders in the last few days, but didn’t see any myself. I did see evidence of one problem, though, as one of the stop signs at the three-way stop at Ahbau and Eighth was lying on its side on the weekend.

I’m sure there will be some people complaining about the city’s work at clearing the streets, but you won’t hear any complaints from me. I think the reason there were fewer people sliding into intersections was because the intersections themselves were a lot clearer than they have been at times in the past, making it easier for drivers to stop.

While I was out and about the weekend, I did notice what seemed like an increased number of drivers speeding through shopping-mall parking lots. Almost all the major malls have signs at the entrances to their lots, usually with a posted limit of 20 km/h. There were a number of people I saw at Parkwood and Pine Centre who seemed to be driving faster in the parking lot than they had been on the streets.

I also saw a good example of people who were out to make the job of driving in Prince George in the winter even tougher. Two people were walking on 17th Avenue, and they were doing a good job of walking facing the traffic.

Unfortunately, they cancelled that out by walking side-by-side on the side of the street where there is no sidewalk, putting them out in the lane of oncoming traffic.

Not the safest way to start your winter.

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