With snow comes traffic accidents, and the start of the 2023 snow season on Oct. 23 was a record start for the past half-decade.
The City of Calgary recorded 75 traffic incidents on Monday, with the majority of citywide accidents occurring between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The number of incidents eclipsed the start of the previous year’s snow starts, which saw 32 in 2022, 29 in 2021, and 17 in 2020—largely as a result of less traffic due to the pandemic.
“Some of our stations are extremely busy, there’s no question,” said Calgary Fire Department Chief Steve Dongworth.
“The first significant snowfall of the winter often creates that right some icy conditions, and people who probably haven’t put their snow tires on yet.”
The number of traffic incidents was the second highest number recorded by the City of Calgary since 2016, with the highest number of incidents being recorded on January 27, 2023 following 16 centimetres of snow falling on that date.
Incidents up, but no serious incidents
Chief Dongworth said that the start of the snow season means that fire crews are ready to respond to crashes.
He said that from his morning briefing with stations, the majority of incidents had been minor in nature.
"It seems like many of them would have been fender benders and people who slid off slid off the road. I didn't hear of any serious collisions."
He said that in these cases, even minor fender benders firefighters would be on hand to provide medical care in the case of injuries.
"Then of course, if the car is damaged and it's leaking fluids, we pick up those fluids as well as part of our commitment to the environment so that those fluids whether it's the antifreeze or other fluids from the car transmission fluid oil don't end up in our watercourses."