Greater Trail drivers struggle to get a grip on road conditions

Hills and corners foiled Trail drivers Monday morning as several people found slippery sections left by a winter dump of snow.

Hills and corners flummoxed and foiled Trail drivers Monday morning as several people found slippery sections left by a winter dump of snow on their morning commute.

No injuries were reported as of Monday afternoon, Trail RCMP confirmed, nor were any of the mishaps fender benders, but over a dozen people found their morning commute grounded when their vehicle slid into the ditch.

Although roads improved later in the day, tow truck drivers were kept busy hauling the unsuspecting drivers out of the ditches on all of the sloped and slippery sections of the city.

“It has nothing to do with tires or chains, it’s just the weather,” said Terry Jean of Terry’s Towing Service in Trail. “Where it is shaded, where there is a hill, there is going to be ice.”

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Trail and the rest of the West Kootenay on Monday, predicting snowfall accumulations of up to 25 centimetres — nearly one foot of snow — from Monday morning through to Tuesday morning. A strong Pacific frontal system is forecast as moving across the Interior, bringing significant snowfall accumulations. However, a strong southwesterly flow brought heavier amounts to the West Kootenay.

Jean said the worst spots in the area were Dump Hill road, the hill going down towards the Waneta Mall, “that is sheer ice, usually,”  and six places on Highway 22 out towards Castlegar and Birchbank where the road is shaded (or there are hills).

Some trucks were having trouble on the Rossland Hill, said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hawton, but there was nothing serious to report, he said.

“Certainly, with the way the snow is continuing there I have concerns with the Rossland Hill. It’s difficult to maintain with this type of snow coming down,” he said.

Part of the problem isn’t so much the amount of snow, said Sgt. Hawton, but the air temperature right now is slightly below freezing while the ground hasn’t frozen yet.

“That adds to the slipperiness underneath,” he said. “But if you’ve lived in this area at all this should not be a shock. We get this every year, it’s just one of those things.”

The temperature is expected to rise to two degrees Celsius by morning, meaning the snow could be changing to rain.

The rain will continue on Wednesday with a low of four degrees for the national Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims in Canada — a chance for people to reflect, learn more about safer driving habits and ways to reduce the risk factors such as alcohol, drugs, speeding, cell phone use, texting, fatigue and failure to buckle up.

The rain will taper off into Thursday where the temperature will stay steady at around two degrees. The snow will come back Friday and Saturday, while rain returns on Sunday.