Property owners are reminded that in the event of freezing conditions they are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and adjacent paths.

Icy roads can wreak havoc for West Shore drivers

Property owners responsible for ice and snow removal on sidewalks

You can’t blame anyone for not wanting to get out of bed in the morning with the dark, cold conditions.

But those extra few moments huddled under the covers can cause some motorists to run behind in the morning and search for ways to make up lost time in their commute.

Last week’s crash on the Malahat in which a Saanich man died and two other people were injured is a tragic reminder that treacherous conditions – at worst black ice – can materialize at any time during the fall and winter months. West Shore RCMP confirmed investigators are looking into loss of traction as a contributing factor in that crash.

Detachment spokesperson Const. Alex Berube said the Malahat has seen its share of weather-related crashes, mostly due to driving too fast for road conditions. However, the Trans-Canada Highway isn’t the only road on the West Shore known to ice up on occasion. Berube said the Millstream Road and Lost Lake Road area in Highlands, among others, can also be problematic.

Between Oct. 1 and Nov. 23, West Shore RCMP have responded to 76 collisions, although not all of those were related to weather conditions, he added.

As the chance for deteriorating driving conditions increases, Berube said the best precautionary measure is to “pre-trip” your vehicle – in other words, make sure everything is in working order. That includes headlights, brake and signal lights, tire tread and pressure, and ensuring there is nothing obstructing your view. Be sure to leave enough time in the morning to properly defrost windows before getting on the road.

Berube said police cannot stress enough the fact that motorists need to slow down when driving conditions are poor.

With winter almost upon us and the mornings getting icier, the City of Langford is also warning residents to take extra precautions on roadways and sidewalks, and reminding property owners of their responsibilities to keep sidewalks and adjacent footpaths safe and clear of ice or snow.

The City is also asking residents to lend a helping hand to any neighbours physically unable to do so.

Michelle Mahovlich, Langford director of engineering, hasn’t given up hope on a white Christmas just yet but is still realistic about the slim possibility of a heavy snowfall hitting the area. She said they like to remind residents of snowfall procedures every year, just in case.

“The priority is getting people moving,” she said. “Anything that has a school bus or transit gets ploughed first.”

In the event of a snowfall, roads are cleared according to priority. They are, in order: major roads; steep hills; collector roads, school and playground zones, and lastly, local roads.

During prolonged or heavy snowfall, crews may need to continue to maintain the highest priority roads before attempting to clear those of lower priority. In order to ensure that equipment can navigate streets in the event of a snowfall, the City is asking residents to avoid parking on the roadway, if possible. Owners of vehicles can be subject to fines and/or towing expenses. If equipment cannot pass, your road may not be cleared.

“If you can avoid parking on the street if makes it a lot easier for us,” Mahovlich said. “We wouldn’t want to damage anyone’s vehicle.”

While the chances of heavy rainfall are much more likely than a heavy snowfall in Greater Victoria winters, if you must drive during extreme winter conditions, the City recommends following basic snowfall and icing driving principles by ensuring you have good winter tires, carry tire chains, lower your speed and keep a safe distance from others.

Some alternative modes of transportation include the City’s Trolley or other public transit options.

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