Driven to destruction

To the idiotic, speedy motorists travelling Hwy 2 the past couple of weeks who seem blind to the fact that the roads have turned into skating rinks.

Dart…

To the idiotic, speedy motorists travelling Hwy 2 the past couple of weeks who seem blind to the fact that the roads have turned into skating rinks.

With their lead feet heavy on the gas pedals, drivers are wreaking havoc on an extremely treacherous stretch of road. They spin out of control, causing chain-reaction collisions involving other motorists who follow too closely or are just unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Pity the police and emergency response teams who respond to this madness caused by sheer stupidity during the holiday travel season. Emergency crews must contend with traffic backed up for several kilometres while they sort out a mess that, in some cases, resembles a demolition derby.

Wednesday was a classic example. Vehicles cruising over an icy surface that world-class curler Randy Ferbey could only dream of to throw a perfect stone were spinning out of control here, there and everywhere between Bowden and the 67th Street overpass.

A recent study in the United States listed speed as the major cause of mishaps under winter driving conditions. Second was motorists following too closely, not anticipating that slamming on the brakes will cause a skid (since slamming on the brakes is sometimes as effective as opening the driver’s door and dragging your foot to slow the vehicle).

The study also singled out motorists behind the wheel of four-wheel-drive vehicles who have a false sense of security that their vehicles are going to hold the road comfortably regardless of conditions.

In fact, those vehicles are just as vulnerable on icy patches as a toddler lacing up a pair of skates for the first time.

So to all those travelling the roads this holiday season, if not for your sake, then for the sake of others, slow down. Your loved ones, and the families and friends of the other motorists on that same stretch of highway, are depending on a safe arrival to enjoy the festivities.

Bouquet…

To Shady Nook acreage owners Mike Haustein and Christine Markwart, the guardian angels of an injured mother moose and her bull calf.

The cow moose, suffering a broken bone in her front right ankle, limped onto their property northwest of Penhold more than a month ago with her large baby tagging along.

This was very unusual behaviour for a wild animal. The cow moose sought help from humans she instinctively should have avoided — especially with a calf.

The acreage owners — concerned that the cow moose could not forage properly with her bad leg — promptly set out food and water for the pair. It was quickly devoured.

Since then, the pair have been treated to regular meals of discarded produce from Red Deer grocers Gaetz South Sobeys, Port O’Call Safeway and Costco.

A wildlife officer pointed out when the story first broke that it’s not a good idea to take injured wild animals under your wing for danger of them becoming domesticated and losing their fear of human habitation.

But in this case, the acreage owners report excellent results from their babysitting duties. Mom moose is recovering well and the pair are now browsing on mountain ash and saskatoon trees as they would in the wild.

When they’re stomachs are full, they take shelter in a plot of bushes nearby where they blend in with the surroundings and become almost invisible. They appear not to have lost that natural instinct. Only time will tell the eventual outcome. Hopefully the pair will wander back into the wild.

Haustein and Markwart must be applauded for their efforts. This month-long cold-snap, with metre-deep snow drifts, has been unforgiving. Only the healthiest of wild creatures will beat the elements. The odds are now in favour of the Shady Nook moose.

Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.

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