EDITORIAL: Are we worth our salt?

With snow and ice on the roads – and more expected this week - it's important to be prepared and courteous to our fellow residents.

What could be a simplistic, two-word review of an under-seasoned meal is what describes many of our streets and sidewalks in South Surrey and White Rock and across Metro Vancouver right now: needs salt.

And we residents are fuming – at our respective cities, at our fellow drivers and at our neighbours who seem oblivious to their civic duty (punishable by a fine) to wield their snow shovels before their tromped-on walkways turn to ice.

Ultimately, though, we have no one to blame (unless you’re a true believer in a god of weather) with regard to the recent spate of snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures – which, it should be noted, are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with snow in the forecast for this weekend.

But it’s up to each of us to be careful on the roads, whether behind the wheel or on foot.

For many who live in other parts of the country – places that more routinely have to deal with harsh winters – it has become common practice to mock, even scold, Metro Vancouver residents for their inability to deal with such conditions, which are often considered mild by those elsewhere.

While hearing such tropes can get tiresome, there is a shred of truth to the criticism. Often, we here in this mild-weathered corner of the province don’t deal well with the elements – due in part because we don’t often adjust our actions accordingly.

Many still drive as they normally would on dry roads, just as others fail to do their part with regard to snow-clearing, thinking instead that rain will come soon enough to wash it all away.

Sure it’s a pain, having to shovel your driveway more than three times in one winter. Having to chip out your car in the morning – while making sure all the snow and ice is removed, lest it fly off while driving – is a drag, too. So’s the commute.

And while we should’ve learned something from these experiences – and some of us have learned, often the hard way – now is as good a time as any to get reacquainted with the sum of our knowledge.

Lead-footed drivers need to exercise caution, and more time should be allowed to reach a destination. Courtesy is a must – including getting to know your neighbours, and help push each other’s vehicles out of the snow, should the need arise.

Such steps will go a long way to everyone getting through the winter safely.