Vintage typewriter with sheet of paper and words “fake news”.

Hergott: Icy roads don’t cause crashes

Lawyer Paul Hergott claims icy roads don’t cause crashes, drivers do

My “Boxing Day Special” gift to you is to “call out” the news media for “fake news”.

I cringe every time I see these “fake news” headlines which all news media seem to be guilty of:

Dangerously icy roads lead to crashes” (CBC – Nov. 15, 2017);

Icy conditions causing havoc on Kelowna area roads” (Capital News – Dec. 3, 2017);

“Icy road leads to crash” (Castanet – Nov. 4, 2017)

Do you ever see these analogous headlines:

“Deep water leads to drowning”;

“Watery depths cause havoc on the beach”; or

“Sunny weather leads to drowning death”?

Don’t they sound nonsensical!

The public needs to know that the vast majority of drownings occur because of factors that are entirely within our control, i.e. alcohol or drug impaired swimming, lack of supervision of children who don’t know how to swim, adults over-swimming their abilities, walking / driving on thin ice, boaters failing to use life jackets, etc.

Those true causes of drownings are reported by the news media. That’s important. It helps the public recognize and protect against risky behaviours that can lead to drowning.

It also leads to an attitude of accountability and consequences. Blaming bodies of water and warm weather would lead to an attitude of “accidents happen”.

Icy roads are no more a cause of crashes than deep water is a cause of drownings.

We live in an area of the world that has winter. The season hits us year after year without fail.

Ice and snow, the natural consequences of winter, are just as predictable as the depth of water in a lake or pool.

If we blame the snowy and icy roads for crashes, we cause a powerless attitude of “accidents happen”.

Why don’t we lay the blame where it belongs, creating an attitude of accountability and consequences?

Consider these alternate headlines:

“Icy conditions take clueless drivers by surprise”;

“Too many crashes caused by overdriving winter road conditions”; and

“Drivers fail to slow down in slippery conditions; no wonder ICBC rates are going up”.

We need to grumble and complain about drivers who fail to use good winter tires and who overdrive the conditions. Not about the naturally occurring ice and snow.

Here’s a bit of common sense that I pulled from a case decided back in 1941, quoted by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Savinkoff v. Seggweiss, a judgment released June 17, 1996.

“If roads are in such a condition that a motor car cannot safely proceed at all, it is the duty of the driver to stop. If the roads are in such a condition that it is not safe to go at more than a foot pace, his duty is to proceed at a foot pace.”

Messaging in the news media is powerful stuff. There is a reason why mass advertising is expensive: It works.

If the news media were to get together and resolve to report about crashes in a way that brings about a sense of accountability and consequences, there would be a natural improvement in driving attitudes.

An improvement in driving attitudes will reduce crashes and put a stop to rising ICBC rates.

Let’s get rid of the fake news and make our roads safer!

Just Posted

Nomination date set for Kelowna- Lake Country Conservatives

March 2 is the deadline for anyone who wants to run for the federal nomination

Rutland pride spills over

Reaction to a story this weekend was clear and worth a second read

Benches made from wood that posed a fire risk in Lake Country

The parks team is making benches from the trees removed from the Jack Seaton Park

Family Day move a welcome change: poll

Okanagan readers voted that the new date for Family Day in B.C. is a positive change

Huge crack and bang heard as Wood Lake fractures

‘It was roaring across the lake,’ Lake Country woman recounts sound of crack in Wood Lake ice

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

B.C. father and sons launch new trunk-sharing system, ‘Trunkit’

Smiths say peer-to-peer shipping service offers an affordable, green alternative

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Salmon Arm’s Laura Hall on bronze-winning skating squad

Hall’s team placed third in long track team pursuit at the Canada Winter Games

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Review: Joie de Vivre a celebration of homegrown talent

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra concert featured Ernst Schneider

Bashful Balladeers bring voices to Vernon

Despite hiding behind masks, talent shines with this group

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Most Read