‘Roads can freeze quickly’: Officials urge Islanders to take precautions with slick roads

WatchOfficials are urging Islanders to take precautions with slick roads. Kevin Charach has the story.

With snow melting and temperatures hovering around zero, many commuters in southern Vancouver Island experienced a challenging morning commute.

“I got myself quite stuck in the ice,” said Saanich resident Cal Havercroft. “So sand gets you out of the hard stuff,” said Havercroft, using sand to dislodge his pickup truck from a patch of ice.

Over in Brentwood Bay, a garbage truck temporarily lost control on a residential street, appearing dangerously close to colliding with neighbouring homes. In the past 24 hours, police departments around the region have issued notices advising people to avoid unnecessary travel.

“We had that quick freeze — roads became very slippery,” said Tristan Gentile, community engagement officer with Central Saanich Police.

Black ice is commonly formed due to melting snow. Despite its name, it’s clear and often invisible to the human eye. Shayan Rahimi, a driving instructor with Zula Driving School in Victoria, says black ice is nearly impossible to avoid.

“You sometimes barely can see it,” Rahimi told CHEK News. “Winter tires are going to be a big help, but they still slip.”

In the event of a person losing control of their vehicle due to black ice, Rahimi says to avoid slamming on the breaks.

“First of all, don’t panic,” said Rahimi. “Don’t break, and if you can, try not steering…Try to let the car pass through the patch of ice and regain control at some point throughout that process.”

Regardless of this response, however, Rahimi admits the best defence against black ice is to avoid driving if possible or to take extra precautions.

“Use your common sense. Slow down, exercise a good following distance from other vehicles, especially those in front of you.”

Officials are warning of more uncertain driving conditions with wet and cold weather expected in the days ahead.

“I think the most important thing here is just keeping an eye on the weather,” said Gentile. “Making sure you are aware of the fact that the roads can freeze quickly and that those conditions deteriorate really fast.”

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Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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