By Jordan W. Charness; photo courtesy

It had snowed all night — one of those big blizzards that we get from time to time. They had been talking about it on the radio and TV for many hours, and were saying it was going to be a big one. Fortunately, the blizzard was to hit sometime Saturday night and should end reasonably early Sunday morning. The city had warned people to stay inside to make life easier for snow removal crews, but not everybody listened.

The parking lot of a condominium complex had yet to be cleared of the snow that had stopped a little while earlier. A good 12 inches had fallen overnight and with the wind and drifts, there were piles of snow up to a metre high in some places. A little compact car didn’t have much of a chance of making it through all that snow, but the driver still tried. He would be able to move forward just a bit before sliding back and spinning his wheels once again. He finally became truly stuck, blocking at least a quarter of the entranceway.

Then, a medium-size car took a running leap at getting out of the parking lot. Being bigger and heavier this car managed to get halfway up the little hill before spinning slightly out of control and sliding to a stop, stuck in a snowdrift. Both drivers tried to help each other push their cars through the snow.

Then a great big pickup truck with oversized tires and “four-wheel drive” stamped on the hood plowed through the snow and up the little hill at the exit. The pickup truck managed to avoid hitting the little car and the medium-sized car but as soon as he hit the snow laden streets he slid out of control and hit a parked car.

Although the truck was still driveable, the driver was smart enough to call the police and report the accident so that he would not be charged with hit-and-run. Leaving a note on the snow-covered windshield would have been of little use and have even less legal value.

The driver of the truck decided the streets were really not passable even for a truck like his, and he drove back down the little hill, parked it and went to bed. The two other drivers, both cold and weary, went back to their warm homes as well, and waited for the snow ploughs and tow trucks to arrive.

This all-too-common scenario happens every winter. Some people think that they can drive even after the city has advised that driving is dangerous and should be avoided. The law is very clear that collision that happen just after a snowstorm cannot be blamed on the city. The city cannot be expected to plow and clear all the streets immediately after every snowstorm. A driver who gets into his car before the streets are plowed will have only himself to blame for any accidents that may occur.

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