Northern Pen : 2019-01-02

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3 NORTHERNPEN.CA WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2019 Q How Eric Payne found inspiration after amputation Eric Payne says life “has not been the same” since one of his legs was amputated following a motorcycle accident involving him and the 12-yearold son of his friend Michael Tops. The accident meant Payne’s 23-year military career was over and was a “dark time” for him. “There’s an adjustment period that goes on. I don’t want to say it ruined everything and that my life sucked, but it was hard crawling out of that,” he says. Payne says he’s since “rebounded” and now presents as a motivational speaker through the Soldier On program, aimed at helping Canadian veterans adapt to and live with permanent physical and mental health injuries. Payne says he’s learned resilience plays a vital role in the recovery of anyone affected by injury, whether as a result of a car accident or otherwise. “My resilience has helped me face a world that is now totally different for me,” he says. Payne recalls marking the 10th anniversary with the Tops family in Coldbrook as ‘a special moment’. His experience now “serves as inspiration when I talk to others about what it’s like to be resilient.” Tops says the two have remained close since the accident, and that regardless of what caused it, placing blame was never a priority. Use ‘common sense’ when driving in winter spot rather than drive in head-on, as accumulated snow mounds may make it impossible to back out safely. Evan says that there are no secret tips or hints for driving safely in the winter. “It’s common sense,” he says. “For the most part, they're actually counterproductive. When they’re on dry pavement, they’re actually less efficient." Studded tires wear down the road, he adds, which can lead to hydroplaning situations. Another common problem in the winter is when drivers approach intersections too quickly or do not give enough space to another vehicle. “Vehicles don’t go out of control… persons lose control of the vehicle,” he said. Even operators of four-wheel drive vehicles need to take precautions. “Four-wheel drive vehicles are designed to allow you to move in snowy conditions or in bad traction, that’s the reason for the four-wheel drive. It has absolutely no positive effect on stopping or controlling the vehicle on stops or turns." He also noted that it’s important to back into a driveway or parking speed, which can prove disastrous. Similarly, Evans explains that accidents occur when drivers don’t take the time to observe driving conditions — is the road slippery, has it been plowed properly, are there any visibility issues, is there a chance of hitting black ice? And, warns Evans, black ice can form even if there is no precipitation falling. “If you get caught in a snowstorm, drive slow and safe. Don’t try to hurry up to get through,” he adds. Another hazard is driving without proper tires. "Snow tires are a must… snow tires will prevent collisions,” Evans says emphatically. And what about studded winter tires? “Studded tires, in a small percentage of the time, are beneficial," he said. Clarenville driving instructor says speeding, not driving for conditions major contributor to winter accidents BY MARK SQUIBB DID YOU KNOW? trusting their summer tires to get them through winters, Evans says that many wintertime accidents could be avoided. “First and foremost, they drive to fast for the conditions,” said Evans. “Speed limits are designed for a reason. Speed limits are not arbitrary. They’re put there to identify a safe and prudent speed to allow a person to avoid unusual or unexpected circumstance.” Sometimes, he says, a driver may be distracted by their thoughts and run on ‘auto-pilot’, falling back into the clear weather day pre-conditioned THE PACKET A "Speed is probably a bigger killer on the highway than any other single factor,” he summarized. Evans says accidents caused by black ice, poor road conditions or even other driver’s erratic driving could be avoided if speeds are reduced. “People have died for the sake of five kilometres an hour,” he said, noting that a little extra speed can make a big difference. [email protected] l Evans retired from the RCMP in 2000, but his desire to protect the public is still strong. Now the owner and operator of ACE driving school in Clarenville, his focus is on education - and after 25 years of police work and over 15 years with the driving school, he's seen it all. Whether it’s drivers speeding in stormy conditions, slamming on their brakes too late at a stop light or

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