Piles of snow left by snow plows line the side of Broughton Street Tuesday morning following a heavy snowfall. (Don Denton/Black Press)

EDITORIAL: Winter weather poses a challenge

While Vancouver Island residents may have been basking in a mild January, winter has hit the region with a vengeance over the past week.

The past several days have been a reminder that even we can’t completely escape winter’s grasp.

While the snowfall accumulations might be considered routine in the B.C. Interior or other parts of the country, February’s snowfall has been one for the record books here.

The problem is that a lot of people are not prepared for such weather. It’s astonishing to see how many people get behind the wheel completely unprepared for the winter conditions. If your vehicle isn’t equipped with proper tires, do those around you a favour and leave the car at home. And even those with proper tires need to realize that you have to leave a greater distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

While we all have witnessed a few hazards on local roads and have shared more than a few complaints about the ability of crews to keep those roads clear, the snow that hit the region has brought out the best in many of those around us.

Many pulled over to help stranded motorists, or took the time to shovel the walk for their neighbours. That should serve as a reminder to all of us to help those around us having difficulties dealing with winter’s chill.

Be sure to check on your neighbours, especially seniors or those with mobility challenges. Offer to help shovel their sidewalk or driveway. A little effort on your part could prevent a slip that could result in a serious injury to those with medical issues. Maybe check that their water taps are turned off so their pipes don’t freeze and burst.

And the snow and cold has been especially hard on the homeless, with many opting to struggle through the cold rather than seek shelter. Donations of food and warm clothing are always a welcome sight for the agencies that provide services to those in need.

It may be cold outside, but a little effort on our parts can warm the hearts of those around us. And what better way to beat the winter blues.

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