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Slippery drive

Alex Glancy
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 26/04) - Cars are a bit like bullets: lethally-fast pieces of metal. If you're not paying attention, the effect can be deadly, especially in winter.

As Const. Sean Chiddenton explains it, the key to driving on icy or snow covered roads is two-fold and simple: you need good tires and you need to slow down.

"Driving is 90 per cent mental and 10 per cent physical," said Chiddenton, a traffic officer with the Yellowknife RCMP.

"Nearly every accident is avoidable," he said. "It's called an accident because someone was not concentrating or paying attention."

Between Oct. 1 and Nov. 22, there have been 23 accidents in Yellowknife, 11 that involved damage worth more than $1,000. Among the total, there have been seven injury accidents, three hit-and-runs, and one pedestrian hit by a vehicle.

And do you think that shiny new SUV will save you?

"Although four-wheel drive may allow a person to take off quicker on slippery roads, it does nothing for slowing down in a hurry," said Chiddenton.

Visual awareness is paramount to safe driving, he said.

"You should be able to stop if the person in front of you slammed on the brakes for no reason," said Chiddenton.