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Letters to the editor

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With the progression of winter and road conditions impacting on vehicle control, I have considerable concern about the average driver's capabilities.

The television commercials relating to vehicles' power and speed, produced in snow, rain and mountainous situations with perfect visibility and no crowds, give little concern to sensible driving and control - in particular there is little reference to long lineups of vehicles travelling in poor conditions relatively slowly, and the need for a decent space between each vehicle.

Many four-wheel drive vehicles and other aggressive drivers try to pass these lineups, even using the lanes reserved for on-coming traffic, with significant accident results.

With the front wheels of all vehicles doing over 85 per cent of the braking, combined with significant loss of traction when tires are only 50 per cent worn (5/32 of an inch according to Consumer Reports, January 2003), combined with lack of cancelling overdrive status and shifting to automatic second gear in downhill areas, the situation is loaded for potential problems. But there seems to be little concern among most drivers.

With the provincial government declining to designate our section of Highway 99 as a "mountain highway", and because - by their definition - all-season tires are good anywhere, the RCMP cannot make a precise assessment of a vehicle's deficiencies when conditions warrant.

Doug Bebb

Whistler/Vancouver

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