Overnight freeze causes crashes, falls across southern Vancouver Island
VICTORIA -- Whether you’re walking, biking or driving, there was a common theme on Friday morning – icy conditions.
People navigating the sidewalks on foot were forced to take ‘tiny steps’ or at times, slide their way to their destinations.
“Today [it was] definitely on the icy side being below zero,” said Gerry Desmet as she was walking down Tolmie Avenue in Saanich. “I generally try to slide my way down the street, that way I don’t get caught off-guard.”
Others, like Shirley Mcleod, who use walkers to get around, struggled a bit more in the cold.
“The last block was a bit of a challenge because they hadn’t cleaned their sidewalks,” said Mcleod. “Therefore, you’ve got all this frozen, irregular stuff to try to get through.”
Meanwhile, drivers had to deal with black ice throughout the region Friday.
On Glanford Avenue, a jeep travelling northbound hit a patch of the slippery stuff, sending it across the centre line and into an oncoming car. Saanich Police Const. Jonathan De Boer said he saw slippery conditions throughout the municipality.
“It was -1 C when I drove into work this morning and by the time of the accident it was -4 C,” said De Boer. “It’s a good reminder to people – drive to the conditions, slow down and give some extra space.”
According to statistics from ICBC, Dial-A-Claim calls this week underwent a spike.
Last week, on Vancouver Island, there were 1278 calls to the claim centre. This week, there were 1519 calls, a jump of 19 per cent.
Wintery conditions also led to a dramatic spike in activity at hospital emergency rooms across the island. Doctors have been dealing with slips, falls and even an increase in heart attacks from people shoveling snow.
“We saw five to six times our normal average number of fractures or breaks in the emergency department," said Dr. Omar Ahmad, department head of Emergency and Critical Care for Island Health.
He added that one emergency room patient broke four different bones in four different places on his body from a fall.
Fortunately for wary travellers, conditions are about to improve. By Sunday the island should be back to average seasonal temperatures.