|A Man's Dreams Crushed|
A young man's dreams of reuniting with his family in Canada were forever stolen when the man, a cab driver, was killed after he lost control of his car on icy roads.
Attiq Ur Rahman, a 35-year-old Advance Cab Co. driver, was killed instantly when his car spun out of control, jumping the median before being T-boned by an oncoming car.
The woman driving the Mustang that hit him suffered a broken wrist.
"It's a very, very sad situation for everybody, thank God (the woman's) life was saved," the cab company's owner, Balwinder Sahota said yesterday. "Attiq's dream was to bring his family here to settle.
"We can't make up for the loss but can support them in this hard time."
Sahota and friends were in touch with relatives in the Pakistan village where Rahman's wife and children -- a boy and girl aged four and five -- live.
Winter driving can be extremely dangerous, and even experienced drivers can find themselves spinning out in bad weather. The best way to avoid getting into an accident is to avoid driving in inclement weather or when roads are icy.
If you must drive however, remember the following tips for safe winter driving and you will increase your chances of arriving alive.
Preparing your vehicle for winter driving
Reliable transportation is especially important in the winter. Not only should you keep your car in top operating condition all year round - for safety and fuel economy, it is especially important to get it winterized to avoid any unpleasant or dangerous situation while traveling in frigid weather. Check the following:
Always fill the gasoline tank before entering open country, even for a short distance, and stop to fill-up long before the tank begins to run low. Keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation, providing the maximum advantage in case of trouble.
A Citizens Band (CB) radio and/or cellular phone can be very useful to you or another stranded motorist in case of an emergency.
|Drive Smart: Use Common Sense|
Be alert, well-rested and sober behind the wheel. Check mirrors and environment controls before you start. Don't forget to wear your seat belt and to ensure all children are correctly positioned in appropriate child car seats and booster seats. Children aged 12 and under should ride properly buckled up in the back seat.
Check weather and travel conditions before heading out. Give yourself extra time for travel and, if weather is bad, wait for conditions to improve. Plan your route and let someone know which way you'll be traveling, your destination and expected arrival time, especially when driving long distances.
See and be seen. Clear all snow from the hood, roof, windows and lights. Clear all windows of fog. If visibility becomes poor, find a place to safely pull off the road as soon as possible. It's best to stop at a rest area or exit the roadway and go to a protected area.
If the roadside is your only option, pull off the road as far as you can. Other drivers frequently strike vehicles parked at the side of the road. In reduced visibility, you should make sure your emergency flashers are on to alert other drivers.
|Winter Car Kits|
It's a good idea to keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Having essential supplies can provide some comfort and safety for you and your passengers should you become stranded.
|If You're Stranded.|
In case you're stranded while driving in winter:
If you have access to a telephone, you should dial 911 to summon help. When you talk with authorities, be prepared to:
|If You're Stuck|
If you find yourself stuck, here are some things to try.
Do not continue to spin the wheels. It will only make things worse.
Pour sand, salt or gravel around the drive wheels to give them something to grab onto and improve traction.
Also, shovel snow away from the wheels and out from under the car to clear a pathway.
|Dangerous Driving Conditions|
Winter driving is a tricky and dangerous business. Better roads, better cars and better tires won’t take the place of careful driving practices. To keep your experience with winter driving from becoming a crash-course, here are a few driving tips:
|Snow Tire Tips|
As a general rule, to maintain control and stability of your vehicle you should install identical tires on all wheels. Avoid mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal construction or size, unless specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
The traditional wisdom from the days when almost all vehicles were rear wheel drive (RWD), was to mount two snow tires for winter driving on the drive wheels. The rationale was that this would provide the best forward traction.
However, the driving dynamics of Four Wheel Drive vehicles in conditions of poor traction are very different from those of RWD vehicles.
Vehicles equipped with FWD need both linear (forward) traction, and lateral traction, particularly on the rear wheels, to prevent spin-out and loss of control.
For safe operation in snow, FWD vehicles should be equipped with four good snow tires two on the front for linear traction, and two on the rear for lateral traction to control skid and spin-out
|Icy Roads: A Personal Account|
I had just gotten paid and was heading home to get out of the nasty weather.
There was some ice out, but at least later that day it wasn't as bad as before and I was getting a little overconfident.. never a good thing, let me tell you.
I was about 6 or 7 blocks from home when I lightly swerved to miss what looked like a patch of ice ahead of me.. though what I didn't know was that I was ON ice when I did that..
it had the nasty effect of sending my car sideways.
I remember sliding on the ice patch... seeing the pole in the distance.. realizing the inevitability of impact... slightly groaning, grabbing the wheel.. leaning back.... and BOOM!
I remember the first piece, it was like getting socked in the chest, or falling on your face, that slight "bounce back" feeling where your head or body feels like it just was dropped and bounced on a bungee cord...
Then I came to (it seemed instantaneous.. but I'm really not sure.) and was in the right backseat, behind the really, really pushed in passenger side door.. my glasses were gone, I was wearing just one boot... and couldn't get a door open...
Luckily, I smacked into a cement post instead of a wooden one..... the kind that break and fall away after impact.. but still, it pushed the passenger side door RIGHT next to me, hell, it even was above my stick shift.
Really glad this wasn't when I had my neighbor in the car on the way to High School.. she would've been dead.
I looked out moments later and saw some lady with her mouth wide open.. eventually I was able to kick open the rear left door.. stumbled around in the ice and snow for a bit.. and basically was going crazy, realizing I had wrecked my first car after only having it for something around 8 months, thinking my parents would go ballistic and be so angry with me.. the fact that I was bleeding nastily from my right arm (didn't realize that) and shoeless didn't occur until later.
I found my glasses in the rear, my other boot next to the accelerator.... my paycheck sitting on the floor and some other items.. then my parents arrived and were in hysterics.
Eventually the cops and an ambulance arrived. Ironically, 2 of the 3 police cars slid on ice, as well as my parents and the ambulance. Apparently that section of road was terribly bad.
I still think about the accident every now and then... when I remember it, I only remember the fear and then the accepting of inevitability and the binding force and immediate thoughts of just SURVIVING all coupled with a touch of calm right near or around the impact.. then the impact itself and the G forces felt.
Counting my blessings,
If you must drive in the winter, follow these safe driving tips:
|Stranded Couple Did Everything Right|
Elizabeth and Robert Sulger set out on a wintry Monday to enjoy the day riding on country roads.
Gary Thompson of Downsville said that on the following Tuesday, he was grooming snowmobile trails on Bear Spring Mountain when he saw the car stuck in the snow and realized it was running.
The Sulgers were on Beers Brook Road, near Russ Gray Pond, on a section of the road that is not plowed in the winter, Thompson said.
The couple's daughter, Shirley Estus said her mother is a calm person.
"She said she didn't panic when she realized they were stranded," Estus said. "They knew they couldn't get out, so they just patiently waited."
Estus said her parents periodically turned the car off to conserve fuel and slept off and on through the night. Because the afternoon was warm and sunny, they didn't have coats with them, just heavy sweaters, she said.
Robert Sulger, 77, was a rural mail carrier and enjoys revisiting the spots on his old route, so he and his wife routinely go on long rides, Estus said.
Estus said her sister, Sharlene Murray of Walton, calls their parents every night. When they didn't answer the phone, Murray called a neighbor and asked them to check the house.
The police were notified that the Sulgers had not returned home and a missing-persons report was issued, said Walton police.
Elizabeth Sulger, 75, is an insulin-dependent diabetic, Estus said.
"She faithfully keeps packets of peanut butter crackers and diet soda in the car," Estus said. "That's what they snacked on."
Thompson said that morning was the first time that the members of the Delaware Valley Ridge Riders snowmobile club had groomed that section of the trail.
"When I saw them sitting in the car, I knocked on the window and started talking to them. They acted a little confused," Thompson said. "Then I called 911 with my cell phone."
Thompson said it appeared the Sulgers had been traveling on the plowed section of the road and then entered the seasonal section used as a snowmobile trail in the winter.
"I think he realized he had driven into the section where the road isn't plowed, and when he tried to turn around, he got stuck," Thompson said.
Though the Sulgers didn't have any serious medical problems from their ordeal, they were hospitalized for routine tests and observation, Estus said.
"Their body temperatures weren't really low, even though it had been so cold," she said. "But the hospital rest has been really good for them."
|Hitting a Skid|
Winter collisions can occur when your vehicle skids. Remember that not all vehicles respond in the same way to icy, slippery roads. You must know how to handle your vehicle and how it responds in various weather conditions.
Even careful and experienced drivers experience skids. Don't panic! Learn to handle skids and remember that, sometimes, the vehicle will skid a second and even third time after the initial skid.
|Winter Tires: What You Need To Know|
No matter how many safety features your vehicle has, it's the tires that enable you to handle it in the snow and ice.
Tires marked "M + S" ( "mud and snow" tires), also known as "all-season" tires, provide safe all-weather performance, but may not be suitable in heavy snow. Wide, high performance tires, other than those that are specifically designed as snow tires, are not suitable for snow-covered roads.
In regions with little snow and moderate winter temperatures, all-season tires may be suitable throughout the year. However, as the temperature drops below -10 C, the rubber compound in all-season tires may cause them to lose their grip as the tires harden in the cold.
Wherever cold or snowy winters are the rule, snow tires become a necessary safety precaution. In deep snow, winter treads improve traction by allowing the tire to rid itself of snow as it rolls, giving it a clear bite on the road.
Tires that meet Transport Canada's new "snow tire" designation will help you control your vehicle safely in snowy conditions.
Tires marked with the pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake meet specific snow traction performance requirements and are designed for snow conditions.