Canadians all crash their cars on the first snow day, it’s because we’re idiots

If you cause a collision on the first snow day of the year, it’s not an “accident”; it’s because you’re a dope

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When Edmonton had its first winter snow day in 2017, the city suffered more than 213 crashes, including several that put passengers in hospital in critical condition. For Toronto’s first winter snowfall in 2016, the city logged an incredible 500 crashes in just 24 hours. Just last week, the first snow around London, Ont. yielded 65 crashes before 6 a.m. (the normal number of crashes is around six) .


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How could this be? How could one of the most predictable natural phenomenons in Canada — snow — consistently yield landscapes of spun-out cars and smushed fenders?

I’m afraid the answer is that we’re all idiots. Watch the video (first posted in 2018) or read the transcript below to learn more. 

We Canadians talk a big game about being a “winter country.” Well explain this: How come every single time the first snowfall of the year arrives, our roads are turned into a Götterdämmerung of twisted metal?

Here in Edmonton, there is approximately 57 weeks of snow every year. Despite this, on the first day of major snowfall last year, there were more than 200 collisions. Not ice, not a blizzard: Just some snow.

Let me be very clear: If you are the cause of a collision on the first snow day of the year, it’s not an “accident”: It’s because you are an idiot.


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You drove on summer tires, you drove too fast for the conditions, or you thought you could operate a motor vehicle in Canada without owning an ice scraper.

Virtually any automobile crash is preventable, but this fact is particularly obvious on the first day of snow because, every year, the crash rate immediately goes down on the second day of snow as people become accustomed to the conditions.

It apparently only takes us 24 hours each year to remember how to drive in snow. So here’s a controversial idea: During that 24 period how about driving carefully?

Drive slower. Take corners slower. Give yourself more stopping distance. Appreciate that a truck is actually worse in snow than other vehicles due to its uneven weight distribution


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A 2005 analysis of U.S. snow driving concluded that the first day of snow is indeed the most dangerous driving day of any other day in the winter. Furthermore, they found that if drivers were just a little more prepared on that first day, they would prevent 30 fatal crashes and 600 non-fatal crashes every year.

The numbers would be lower in Canada, but the fact remains: Every single year we have a day where people die and millions of dollars in property will be destroyed simply because we’re all too cocky to have basic respect for the arrival of the one season that defines us more than any other.

So this year, celebrate your first snow day by leaving the house a few minutes earlier, making sure you’re prepared with proper tires and an ice scraper and firmly removing your head from your derriere.


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