A storm that swept down on B.C.’s interior last week left roads resembling a skating rink and stacked up cars like an ice-racing event, but brought snow for the beginning of the skiing and sledding season.
The low pressure system brought upwards of 25 cms of snow and temperatures down to -8 degrees C.
100 Mile House RCMP report a collision-filled week throughout the 100 Mile House Detachment area which kept Interior Roads crews busy plowing and sanding.
The chaos began on Thursday, Nov. 14th with three reported single-vehicle collisions; two on Canim-Hendrix Lake Road and one on Highway 24.
By Friday Nov. 15th cars were sliding off the road and into other vehicles. On Friday there were five single-vehicle collisions. Two were on Highway 24, two on Highway 97 just south of 100 Mile House and another at 103 Mile House on Highway 97.
At 98 Mile a small vehicle slid off the road and down a steep embankment. 100 Mile Fire-Rescue service and BC Ambulance were called out to assist two children in the rear seat. Their removal took an hour but they received only minor injuries.
There were also two collisions involving multiple vehicles. One vehicle slid into a semitrailer travelling north on Highway 97 near Wright Station Road while the other accident was a vehicle impacting a logging truck on Exeter Station Road in 100 Mile. RCMP report that the occupants of these vehicles received only minor injuries.
On Nov. 16, RCMP were conducting radar enforcement on Highway 97 at the four lanes south of 100 Mile House. A vehicle was observed travelling very quickly north-bound on the ice and snow covered roadways. The vehicle was clocked at 49 km/h over the speed limit – 149 kms per hour.. The driver was subsequently issued a violation ticket for excessive speed. His vehicle was impounded for 7 days.
The same day there were two single-vehicle collisions in Lac la Hache, the first near Begg Road and the other near Lac la Hache Station Road. In both these instances, improper winter tires were a contributing factor.
On Nov. 17, there were two single-vehicle collisions on Highway 97. The first was at the 109 Mile Hill, the second was at 111 Mile.
Kal Tire manager Al Hughes, speaking while his team hustled to clear a backlog of last-minute tire change-overs and replacements, commented on the use of “improper winter tires.”
Hughes said, “we would be glad to see the banning of mud and snow or all-season tires in winter. They just don’t do the job proper winter tires do. I’ve been in this business 40 years but folks still argue, Why would you risk your safety?”
Quebec has banned “all-season” tires for winter use and many tire experts in B.C. feel the term all-season is not valid for areas like B.C.’s interior where they are, at best, 3-season tires, suitable only for areas such as the Lower Mainland.
The RCMP remind drivers that winter driving conditions are here, including snow, rain, ice and black ice. Slow down and ensure their winter driving equipment is in proper order, they say.
The storm also had a silver lining. At the same time as causing accidents the dump of snow was good news for those looking to begin sledding or skiing. Several sledders were out on trails and skiers on 97 Mile cross-country trails. At the Hills Health Ranch children were testing out the terrain park slopes on carpets and tubes while Pat Corbett had his Bombardier snow cat out setting cross-country ski tracks, after spending a day clearing the driveway, as did many other area residents. The cross-country ski trails at the Hills are open and terrain park may open early thanks to the snowfall.