Are you one of the righteous upstanding citizens of this province who point to the ruts in the pavement as caused by studded tires and pronounce upon the deviants who use them as enemies of the state? I know you are… or else the title would not have grabbed you. Now – go fug yeeself.
I use studded tires in the winter exclusively, and insist that all the people I know and love use them too and frig the pavement. We can look after that some other time. When you need the studs, the profuse sweating isn’t necessary. The hands don’t need to grip the wheel quite so hard, you can apply the brakes and have the vehicle slow down… unlike those skiis they call “all season radials!”
Now there’s a lie for you hey? Built right into the name “All Season”, ya right! If you keep your car parked in the winter maybe! Not in Newfoundland buddy! Maybe in California, not here!
If fate hadn’t destined that people in this province congregated primarily on the North East Avalon, we’d have a sensible airport – Gander. However, no, they want one in the weather trap called Torbay, and they are numerous enough to have what they want, indeed if Danny has his way all people in the province (clear of those required to keep Muskrat Falls generating station going) will live in Southlands and he will be some sort of Duke or Lord. That’s another matter.
In the past 20 years I’ve had to travel to St. Johns to fly to destinations because they near flattened any prospects of getting out of Gander. My work requires that I travel mostly in Winter, Spring and Autumn, and I can safely say that every time I’m shooting a 50 / 50 likelihood of actually departing from Torbay on time, or indeed at all. And if flying back in to that pot of soup the same statistic applies. Meanwhile Gander continues to operate with scarce a snow or fog day through the year! Not quite logical is it?
My topic however is tires. The consequence in having to use this 280km driveway to the airport is that I’ve retained my life only by prayer and luck. Skill plays only a little part in something as deviant as navigating the Doe Hills in January. There we were just last week in what was later labelled a “Weather Ninja”! This is what I experienced: I started away at 8:40am for a 1:30pm flight. Normally I can do the drive in less than three hours. Some snow was falling, forecasters said 5 to 10 cm and light wind. Well, that’s a comfortable drive down a country lane here in this part of the world, so off I go. By the time I got to Whitbourne I was late for boarding and following a Tractor Trailer truck. I could seet its outline only when it turned and I could see its side lights. Everything on the back was obscured by the accumulated snow sent up in eddies, pitching all over back making the thing as camouflaged as a bed sheet on snow. Even the tail-lights of the thing were completely obscured. The winds had picked up to 70 and 80 and whiteouts made it impossible to see anything! If I got too close I could run up under the thing, if I got too far behind I’d lose him. The driver of the rig was encountering the same difficulties with vehicles in front of him. Only the prospect of losing a flight kept me going, though in retrospect I should have realized the flight would be cancelled. I got to St. Johns at 2:15pm. That is 5.5 hours.
There had been strings of cars, drivers simply pulled over. A Dept.. of Highways plough truck loaded with sand had driven off the indistinguishable edge and into the ditch. Vehicles by the hundred had pulled off. I kept going. We (Wayne my buddy was with me) counted 26 vehicles which had shot off into the snowbanks or had stalled going upgrade.. We were going slow enough to see that most had tires that were stud-less, or were all season radials. That at least, I had taken care of last October when I had studded winter tires mounted on the rims of my vehicle – the one thing I could do to insure my safety. The rest was up to our maker so to speak.
Only a few times every winter does one need them, but having them is worth all the saved worry and worn pavement in the province. So, to you smug condescending individuals who would argue that we all should use stud-less tires, check into just where you live, ask yourself if you’ve done everything to insure your safety and that of your passengers as well as the vehicle that you’re sliding toward at 90km per hour, just before you check out because when you go knockin’ on heaven’s door you may be taken to task on that.