LETTERS: Bad driving habits have worse consequences in the winter

Editor:

Another snowfall in the Lower Mainland has emphasized the danger of driving on our highways.

The danger is not from the snow, but from those drivers that fail to recognize the danger and refuse to slow down. The stopping distance in snow or rain is greatly reduced, and the key to preventing injury or damage is to slow down.

An example of this danger was present on 152 Street in South Surrey on Feb. 4. I took the risk and ventured out with an all-wheel drive vehicle and snow tires. The street appeared to have very little snow, but, in fact, the surface had mixed wet snow and water. Most drivers ignored the driving conditions, and many tailgated other vehicles. The attitude of these drivers can only be described as “don’t know or don’t care.”

This attitude contributes to our rising insurance premiums, as after every snowfall, ICBC experiences the usual backlog of claims. ICBC is trying to hold the line on premiums, but statistics indicate increases in both damage claims and personal injuries.

Even without snow, tailgating and resulting rear-end collisions take a heavy toll on personal injury. It is a fact that some drivers suffer years from soft-tissue injuries while others suffer permanent disabilities. A very good friend of mine has been rear-ended three times with resulting pain and suffering and settlements from ICBC.

This clear and present danger can be witnessed almost any time on Highway 99 where it is not uncommon to see vehicles tailgating at speeds in excess of 100 km/h. Offending drivers obviously do not realize that at that speed, they are travelling at 88 feet per second, and reaction time, which is a big factor in stopping distance, is not considered. Rear-ending a vehicle at this speed will have serious consequences.

As a retired police officer with experience in several jurisdictions in this province, including Surrey, I do not understand why some drivers appear to lack the ability or foresight to recognize obvious danger while having the care and control of a motor vehicle. These drivers have a complete disregard for the safety of other persons using the highway.

Bill Parrott, Surrey

Letter to the Editor

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