Tag Archives: driving

Snow tires

We received some unexpected (even though it’s winter) snow in Prince Albert today.  The roads were treacherous.  On the way back from running some errands, my car slid past one exit and was nearly rear-ended.  Then I almost missed the next exit, slidding into the grass meridian.  I had to back up to reposition and then almost didn’t make it up the sloped exit.  A car ahead of me somehow managed to do almost a 180 in a straight stretch of road.

In fact, that was typical at the intersection by the church.  I almost slid into a street light, trying to make a left.  Then I watched from my office window as the roads got worse and people got into fender benders and found themselves trying to enter into an exit lane.  Cars perpendicular to the road, drivers clumsily trying to slip-slide their way back into position.

We plains/interior folk like to make fun of people in warmer climes (such as Vancouver and the island), where cities effectively shut down with an inch of snow, but I realized today that if seasoned winter drivers like us have a hard time with wet, freezing weather, it’s understandable that people in areas where snow is uncommon (and slopes are more common) can’t handle it.

So I’m faced with the snow tire issue again.  I’ve been putting off buying rims for the snow tires I have for the van, but now I’m wondering if I should go the snow tire route with the Honda as well.  It seems, however, that I must decide quickly, because there may be a snow tire shortage in the Canadian west: demand for snow tires in Quebec is way up, because they will soon be mandatory on all vehicles.

The thing is, prior to last winter I had never driven on snow tires and never seriously considered buying them.  In fact, I wasn’t aware that anyone I knew used them and was quite surprised to learn that almost everyone in the Okanagan valley, of all places, uses them.  The only reason I used them last winter was because we got a set of snow tires with our van purchase.  But now that I’ve used them, it seems like a necessity.

But I’m not sure I’m willing to shell out the $800 or so to fully equip both vehicles with snow tires (and rims), especially since I had never used them before last winter.  Plus, I only assume that they make a difference, based on what people tell me and the fact that their “winter tires”.  But all-season tires, which I have, cover winter as well.  I’ve never done a driving test and I’m doubtful enough to think that the winter tires seemed to give more traction than the all-season tires simply because I was expecting them to (and perhaps driving more cautiously as a result of my awareness)—but it had been 4-6 months since I had driven in winter on all-season tires and that was in a different vehicle, so comparison isn’t really possible.

That’s today’s snooze-fest, folks.

I can be an idiot sometimes.

On Tuesday night I came to an intersection partly obstructed by emergency vehicles responding to an accident.  The northbound lanes were completely blocked, but the southbound lanes—my lanes—were clear.  The right southbound lane, farther away from the scene, had a long line of cars in it.  The left lane was empty.

Some distance away from the intersection, I pulled into the left lane and as I did so, a red car from the right lane pulled up ahead of me.  The light was red, so we both stopped.  When the light turned green, the right lane started moving immediately, but the driver of the red car in front of me didn’t move.  He (or she) hobbled forward a little bit, so I assumed that the driver was trying to get a look at the accident scene.  So I honked—two short bursts.  The person behind the wheel may have gesticulated at me, but I couldn’t really tell.  Finally they pulled out.

And that’s when I saw the police officer directing traffic.

To make matters worse, the red car and I appeared to be on more or less the same route.  We both continued south.  Then we both took a left turn.  This wasn’t unusual, because people, including myself, who would normally have taken a left at the accident scene would be taking this next left.  But then I started thinking…

The red car took a left turn off the main road and into the residential area—the very turn I would be making.  Then it turned left again onto the crescent, which was also my route.  Sure enough, the red car took a right onto the cull-de-sac where we live.  The person I honked at at a police-controlled intersection lives three doors down from us!    What are the odds?

I was prepared to approach the person to explain why I’d honked, but they pulled into a garage.

I can be an idiot sometimes.