Thursday, February 28, 2013

R.I.P. Dear Versa and Of Perils of Winter Driving

"Winnipeg has already plowed through close to half of its annual snow-clearing budget after last month's heavy snowfall.

This morning, city officials revealed it cost Winnipeg about $11 million to clear snow from city streets in January - nearly twice as much as the $6 million they originally budgeted for."

Well apart from the budget casualty, one of our two cars fell prey to winter driving this year. Alex was just coming out of the back lane one morning in January, flanked by two massive snow banks on either side, following a night of light snowfall when POW! This minor snowfall had as usual obliterated all evidence of curbs, ruts and street markings and Alex was taking Tara to daycare in a bit of a rush when he got T-boned (side impact collision) by a rather large pick up truck. Neither of them saw the other coming, the truck was large, white and camoflaged amidst the freshly fallen snow and Alex's Nissan Versa was shorter than the 8 foot tall snowbanks.
"It was POP! and then we kind of swooped and I was dizzy"

This is very similar to what Alex's car looked like except it was bashed in on both sides  by the truck and a hydro pole. Actuall this is fairly familiar site that you pass by on winter mornings, thanking your lucky stars that it wasn't you today.

That is how Tara describes the collision, three airbags went off and the only injury was a broken middle finger for T. The Nissan however, we could tell, was history. Our insurance adjuster calculated that it would be $15K to fix our dearly departed (It had only cost us $14K to buy new...). The two driver side doors were crushed from the impact, three airbags had deployed, side mirrors smashed, and the car had been turned and pushed into a electric pole and the large snowbank on the opposite curb, collapsing the passenger side quarter panel as well as the front fender... only thing untouched on the outside was the hatch and the roof! We knew before the car was towed away that that was the last ride in it for Alex.
the Versa at the Manitoba Insurance "graveyard"
I actually saw this happen as I drove up 45 seconds behind Alex, not realizing it was them till I saw Alex scamper out of the car... that should tell you how high the snow banks were.

I hear my dad saw 5 cars in ditches that evening on his way back from work. If we could sue the city for damages I would consider a class action suit for all the car crashes. This happens every year and after every fresh snow fall around the city. The plows clear the streets and pile the snow on curbsides making visibility at crossings impossible!! Now a month later, I am still driving blind at intersections, on severly snow-rutted roads that seem to push the cars towards each other in an inexorable collision course. However, as a result of the car crash, we now own a bigger (higher) and brighter (red) vehicle with four wheel drive. I cannot say enough good things about side impact airbags and carseats though: they kept the daddy and daughter safe - which we are all thankful for. The new RAV4 is supposed to be our answer to our winter reality. This is why Winnipeggers are cross every January-February... the wonder of winter wears off with the twelve days of Christmas to be replaced by snowy-slippery-rutted roads to be follwed by slushy, gravelly, icy, pot-holey, mucky roads of March. If you go off on a holiday to escape the winter doldrums, you often come home to your car moated and buried under snow and a slew of parking ban tickets.... grrr.
Notice the yellow ticket sticking out for the overnight parking ban and that grey snow is hard-as-rock stuff and heavy to boot, heart attacks are not uncommon from trying to manually clear this concrete like snow.
Good luck to any pedestrian trying to walk home from the bus stop, on the street with next to nothing visibility.

O, can you tell that I hate Spring! And as if that is not enough, the snow ploughing on the sidewalks is everybody's last priority forcing pedestrians down onto the slippery streets. Motorists hate it because they are sometimes unable to control their vehicles due to the snow ruts and the black ice that forms on the roads from the tires compressing and polishing the snow at every intersection... and when all this now is gone we'll have a fresh crop of potholes to deal with in April. JOY.

About Me

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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I am a forty-something mom of two girls, an architect by profession and an avid sci-fi and My Little Pony fan. I love to cook, but only occasionally and am in the middle of rediscovering my heritage through food.