It’s amazing how quickly things disintegrate with even the slightest hint of disaster.
Not that we didn’t have adequate warning that the weekend’s snowstorms would create havoc — weather reports were calling for snow turning to freezing rain all week — but people just didn’t seem to believe it until they were in the ditch. They never do.
In the village, people trying to get back to Squamish and Vancouver mobbed the Greyhound buses, jostling for a spot near the front door and collapsing the usually orderly lines. They were cold and wet, as many of them had been waiting for hours. There was real panic that they were going to be left behind.
And then there were all the other people on the road who no doubt believed they had legitimate reasons for getting into their cars and driving during the storm. The thing is, all of those reasons seem kind of stupid the moment your bumper is embedded in the bumper of another car.
If you got in your car or truck and drove on Sunday night or Monday morning, you were part of the problem. The smart thing would have been to stay put and let the plows do their work. Instead, the highway had to be closed several times on Sunday night to give the tow trucks enough time to pull cars out of ditches and snowbanks, and let the plows catch up with the conditions.
On Monday I was amazed to see all the cars driving up the road to Spring Creek to drop their children off at school and daycare. I was also amazed by the volume of traffic on the highway, as people headed to work like it was any other day instead of the tail end of a minor disaster.
As a mountain town we somehow feel we’re above this kind of disaster, that we all know how to drive in the snow, that snow tires or four wheel drive is enough, that plowing is always prompt and perfect, that the buses still run on time. We’re wrong on all counts, and it’s time we acknowledge the fact that weather is boss in this town.
We have to take a little bit of personal responsibility and use our common sense. If the weather forecast calls for heavy snow on Saturday, go grocery shopping on Thursday. Make sure you have a household emergency kit with water, blankets, candles and everything else you might need if you’re stuck in the dark during a power outage. Most importantly, make no stupid errands during a snowstorm. Stay home. Or better yet put on your classic skis and snowshoes, or grab a toboggan — just leave the car at home.