Crossing the Street and Other Extreme Sports

It is cold and icy. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get going. With the recent snowfall, there’s been a lot of stuff going around about staying safe in the winter. Warm clothes, walking carefully so as not to fall on ice, and so on. All of this is extremely important- I am an avid supporter of the penguin walk and can confidently say I only fall sometimes.a drawing of a person wrapped in a blue blanket, looking out the window onto a snowy night. But this has all made me think- is staying warm really the only thing we should be doing to stay safe in the winter? I’ve always had a 100% rational (I dare you to disagree) worry about crossing the street. Cars are big, and we’re putting our lives in somebody else’s hands whenever we step onto the crosswalk and the cars haven’t completely stopped. This is even truer in the winter, with all of the ice. If somebody who is decidedly not the size of a car can slip and easily break a limb, who’s saying cars can’t slip too? My mom had a recurring dream when she was my age that she was standing on a sidewalk waiting to cross the street in a snowstorm. A bus was coming, and it would try to round the corner but end up sliding onto the sidewalk. Then she would wake up. My sister and I heard about this dream often, especially growing up in Calgary, where snow is pretty much a constant for upwards of five months. My mom’s terrifying dream, and the overactive imagination of child-Tanith, meant that forever more: CARS + SNOW = DANGER. I’ve gotten used to being extra careful crossing the street in winter, but coming to Toronto meant experiencing a whole new level of impatient drivers. Now, instead of being able to wait comfortably for a car to stop completely before stepping onto the street, if I’m not in the middle of the road by the time they reach the stop sign they’ll either honk, or just keep going. Maybe they’re in a rush, but I’m going to be honest- I’m judging a little. Don’t stop signs mean stop, even if there isn’t a person in the street? Anyway, to summarize: TORONTO (CARS + SNOW) = IMMINENT DEATH. A photo of Hoskin Avenue looking dreary and slushy with snow. Yellow arrows are pointing everywhere saying "slippery". There is a hand-drawn sun in the corner that has a sign saying "GONE 4 LUNCH".So really, I guess what I’m saying is why is nobody telling us to be aware? I see plenty of signs about proper footwear, which is definitely important in this weather, but I also can text my way across campus while listening to music, and I’ll simply be blending in. I’m definitely guilty of being distracted while walking- I love podcasts, and walking to class means fifteen more minutes of true crime or weird fiction. But in the winter, listening to a podcast means that you might not notice a car that can’t stop. Snow and ice means that when we cross the street, we’re putting our lives not only in the hands of the drivers, but also in the unfounded belief that they’re in control of their car. So this winter, I’m challenging myself to not pull out my phone while I’m outside. I started yesterday, and already I watched a car slide within inches of where I would have been had I stepped out seconds before under the assumption that they would stop without issue. I’ve reached the word limit (and after last week, I’m actually trying to stay within a somewhat reasonable range), so I leave you with this: Do you text or listen to music while walking? If so, would you ever join me in the challenge? If not, how do you make sure you don’t? Happy Wednesday, everybody, and stay warm!

1 comment on “Crossing the Street and Other Extreme Sports

  1. I totally feel you on this! One of my worst winter fears is falling down as I exit a bus or streetcar, only to get run over by someone. I don’t understand why Toronto’s drivers don’t obey the stop signs either!

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