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Toronto Smash-Up

by James Denison / February 28, 2014 2:24 PM PST
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Boy are you wrong, James, but what else do we expect.
by Rob_Boyter / March 1, 2014 3:09 PM PST
In reply to: Toronto Smash-Up

"on a busy highway south of Barrie on Thursday morning. "Ontario Provincial Police spokesman Sgt. Dave Woodford said officers counted 96 vehicles after the chain-reaction crash occurred in Highway 400's southbound lanes, north of Innisfil Beach Road, at about 9 a.m." If it had been in Toronto that would have been a Metro Toronto Police spokesperson. You might want to consult an atlas, or Google Maps for Hwy 400 and Innisfil Beach Road, then back out and check the distance.

Highway 400 begins in North York which is indeed part of Toronto about 4 miles from its northern boundary.. The Innisfil Sideroad in Innisfil Township is between 55 and 60 miles north of Toronto's northern Boundary. Blaming that pile up on Toronto is as sensible as blaming Baltimore for Washington Traffic. Or vice versa. This wasn't aided and abetted by Chris Christie and his friends so far as I know. If this had been the time of Mike Harris (the 90's) I wouldn't have been so secure about saying that, but we have a woman Premier of the Province who is a Liberal. So far as I know she doesn't know how to make it snow at will.

Since you appear to be unfamiliar with it, James, a White Out is a
condition of blowing drifting snow, not necessarily falling from the sky
which obscures vision better than a heavy fog, and obscures the lines
on the highway as well as slowing or stopped vehicles in front of you.
What the Highway needs is a double or a triple line of tall conifers on
either side, especially the west which is where the predominant winds
come from.

In the words of "You're no Jack Kennedy", this was no 2 inch Atlanta snowfall. It was 8+ inches and a high wind. The 400 is a poorly designed highway on which I have had my own share of white knuckle flights but not in winter, If you drive the 400 in the snow, you're just asking for it. I don't know what it is about the road that makes it so inclined to provoke misjudgement, but White Outs are just one more reason to stay away from it.

North of the city, and particularly north of The Holland Marsh (settled and drained by the Dutch, can you tell?) the wind can sweep for a couple of hundred unobstructed miles picking up any loose snow and whirling it into dense opaque clouds which then cross Highway 400 obscuring the vision of the drivers not for seconds but minutes at a time. If you keep driving you're likely to hit somebody, if you slow down to a safe speed, you're likely to get hit from behind by some a$$ hole in a Semi trailer who thinks (rightly, mostly) that he's invulnerable. The best idea is to creep onto the verge and crawl along next to the guard rail with every light you own flashing and pray no body else does the same in front of you during a white out.

The second this popped on the news, by which I mean the picture of the pile up, I said "Highway 400" without waiting for the report proper. It's the only place that stuff happens, though the 401 which runs from Windsor to Montreal and goes straight across Northern Toronto can create its own king of havoc. I remember driving a friends van and slipping and sliding for nearly 100 miles on the 401, but both I and the vehicle emerged unscathed though my blood Pressure must have been sky high by the end.

You think I'm exaggerating, come north. I'll send you out on the 400 in normal vacation weekend traffic in the Summer. You'll come back quaking with either grey hair, or white hair or no hair at all.

Rob

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Google Maps:Thornton, Ontario, then find Innisfil Beach Road
by Rob_Boyter / March 1, 2014 5:35 PM PST

(otherwise known as the Innisfil Township 8th Line). Slide over East to Highway 400, that's roughly where the accident took place (a little north of there actually). Now pull back until you see Toronto. That's how far away it was. It might as well have been Barrie.

Rob

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