Today I drove into Vancouver as the snow was coming down in a winter-wonderland. While coasting down the Furry Creek Hill in the snow , this woman went blazing past me in some small, light, possibly front-wheel-drive vehicle. I was already going around 80 km, but only because Newton was driving and I knew that even tapping my breaks down a snow-covered hill was risky. My first thought was “I wonder how far this woman will make it before losing control?” — something which I was certain was inevitable. Answer: Just before Horseshoe Bay! She was fine, but shaken up.

This was not the first time I watched someone over-drive the conditions, or drive as if they were “invinsible” only to crash later. Years ago while still living in Prince George, the woman I lived with at the time bought herself a Jeep with decent, knobby tires. She loved to drive in the snow but I would often feel the need to remind her not to over-drive the Jeep, or to feel overly confident. Often, when we were both coming home from UNBC at the same time, I would be in my huge, heavy “Monster Truck” of a Bronco with 40″ TSL Boggers, and she would be in her Jeep. Chief Lake Road out to our place on Eena Lake, was often under blizzard conditions and in a complete white-out. I would drive at the speed that I was comfortable at, and felt safe, yet she would often pass me. I have been driving off-road and in dangerous conditions almost all of my 35 year driving history, and with large, heavy and well-equipment 4×4’s. Yet, I could not drive at the speeds she would drive. I kept warning her, “you are over-driving the conditions and if I am not comfortable driving at the speeds you do, with my truck and with my experience, doesn’t this tell you anything?”. Well she ignorned me and I am sure you know the rest of the story. Once again, she was not hurt but flipped the Jeep.

Slow down people, and this also means you guys out there who over-drive the conditions or feel invincible in your shiny new 4×4! If you dont know how your vehicle behaves when it slides, if you don’t know the “feel” of it’s momentum or mass, or how it drifts, then you MUST go out and practice! Everyone MUST know how their vehicle responds, recovers and slides/drifts in poor conditions and when Newton is behind the wheel. You also need to know when NOT to use your brakes and when to stomp on the gas peddle to power-out of a slide. If you think this is silly, or counter-intuitive, then you have just demonstrated how much you need to learn about controlling your vehicle in poor conditions. Go find an empty parking lot and slide, drift, stomp on the brakes and do as many donuts as it takes until your vehicle feels like an extension of your own body. Knowing how to control your vehicle and how it behaves in a slide, CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE as well as the LIVES OF YOUR CHILDREN, and others. Friendly advise from a FIGJAM Personality (not my label).

Winter Driving Tips

(1) Five Simple Strategies For Driving In Snow

(2) Winter Driving – Be Prepared, Be Safe

(3) Winter Driving Tips