Like many others, my husband and I use Mount Ida Drive as our primary route down to town from Middleton Mountain. The winter driving we have observed recently has been nothing short of frightening, sometimes bordering on near fatal.
This is a small sampling of what we have observed in the past 72 hours, all on the stretch of Mount Ida Drive descending from Coldstream to Vernon:
1. While ascending the hill after a full day’s snowfall (when the road had not yet been plowed), a car travelling well over the speed limit on its descent was coming down right in the middle of the road. The driver lost control, almost plowed directly into our truck (ascending in the righthand lane), and after careening past us, swerved onto someone’s front lawn (narrowly avoiding their house) before continuing to barrel down the hill.
2. While descending the hill (which had been plowed and sanded) at the speed limit, I was aggressively tailgated and then passed by someone who was so eager to get to their destination that they swerved into oncoming traffic to pass me, slipping and sliding the whole way (their car did not appear to have winter tires). I observed them doing the same thing to several other cars all the way into town.
3. My husband and I have both been tailgated multiple times (while driving the speed limit) by drivers who refuse to modify their usual driving to accommodate winter road conditions.
My husband grew up in Terrace, and I spent the first 25 years of my life in Montreal, upstate New York and Chicago. We are no strangers to winter driving. The careless behaviour we have seen on this stretch of road has been unprecedently shocking to both of us.
There are children who use the sidewalk along Mount Ida Drive before and after school to travel to and from their bus stop. We ourselves have a three month old and two year old often in the car with us. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of a child getting injured (or worse) due to a driver’s entirely preventable recklessness.
In an ideal world, the city would post signs warning drivers to slow down for winter weather, and the streets would be maintained more promptly following a snowfall.
The real solution here is for people to use some common sense. If you are one of these people speeding down Mount Ida Drive — allow extra time for winter conditions, slow down and give people some space.
I am sure that my husband and I are not the only parents who would implore you to do so.