Richmond drivers crashed nearly once an hour during snow dusting

Richmond RCMP have reported nearly one crash per hour, in the past 24 hours, due to poor road conditions and inattentive driving.

By 7 a.m. Thursday, following a wet, three-centimetre snowfall followed by freezing temperatures overnight, Cpl. Dennis Hwang said police attended to 22 collisions.

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He said officers were busy all night attending to crashes, including one officer who was injured in a police vehicle.

“Whenever we get a snowmageddon type event [crashes] happen. But this is substantial. Roads have perhaps not received adequate salting and that’s contributed to it,” said Hwang.

Meanwhile, more snow is on the way and road conditions could be extremely icy Friday night and Saturday morning. That’s because Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Friday. Up to 15 centimetres of snow is expected with the risk of freezing drizzle Saturday morning.

Richmond resident Chad Pederson also tweeted his concern over road conditions: “It’s -6, icy, and not a single grain of salt on No. 3 Road south of Granville. Cars sliding everywhere, including my own that has winter tires.”

The News observed similar conditions this morning on Steveston Highway and No. 3 Road, south of Blundell Road.

Hwang said drivers are not changing their driving habits.

"You cannot drive like its dry conditions in this type of weather," he said, adding that it’s not uncommon to find summer tires on vehicles involved in crashes.

“Some people may be driving without winter tires. We look at that when we investigate” crashes, said Hwang.

A City of Richmond snow plow during last winter's record snowfall

The City of Richmond issued a statement on Twitter that “crews with trucks continue to work through the night in #RichmondBC to combat the freezing and icy conditions. Please slow down when driving, take care when walking.”

City spokesperson Linea Volkering acknowledged the icy conditions caught crews off guard Wednesday night as weather forecasts quickly changed. 

"A sudden drop in temperature that occurred within 40 minutes in the evening and caused significant freezing which was not forecast by any agency. Staff monitoring conditions called in six trucks and three brine at 6 p.m. Five more were called in at 8 p.m. as conditions were not changing," said Volkering.

As of 8 a.m., Volkering said the city had two salt and three brine trucks "focusing on major routes and three small salters working around schools. Six more drivers went out with salt at 9 a.m.  As of 8 a.m., all first and second priority routes were attended to at least three times. Ice on salted routes was not breaking up at that time – it began once traffic worked-in the salt. Routes treated with brine showed immediate improvement,” added Volkering.

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