Two Nova Scotian drivers had narrow escapes when chunks of ice flew off of vehicles and smashed into their windshields in separate highway incidences this week.
Jim Bonia was heading east on Highway 101 toward Windsor Tuesday around 7:30 a.m when a large chunk of ice flew off a light-coloured van and hit his driver-side windshield.
"I saw a chunk of ice flying through the air towards my vehicle and it made direct contact with my windshield, right in front of me, and I had nowhere to go. I just hit the brakes. The windshield came in on me," he said.
"My face was covered in glass shards, my scalp was cut and I just stopped. Luckily there was no accident."
Bonia said he could see chunks of ice and snow flying off the van as it approached.
“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do; I couldn’t do anything. It scared the living bejeebers out of me.”
He said RCMP estimated each driver was going at 100 kilometres per hour toward each other. "It’s pretty brutal force,” he said. “I was lucky none went in my eyes. It’s very lucky someone wasn’t killed.”
'There was glass everywhere'
In the second incident, on Monday night Amanda Payne had a close call on Highway 102 near the Halifax airport.
“I was driving home and a big sheet of ice came flying off a white bus and flew right into my windshield,” she told CBC's Maritime Noon on Wednesday.
“A whole bunch of glass [came] into my car. It was all over my face and it was in my hair, my clothes, my purse — everything. There was glass everywhere.”
She gripped the steering wheel, flicked off cruise control and struggled to keep control of her car as she drove at 100 kilometres per hour.
“I was just hoping that I can make it through this,” she said from her home in Elmsdale, N.S.
She managed to steer off the road. A couple in a truck stopped and called 911. They also sheltered her in their vehicle until help arrived.
Bus driver didn't know
A second driver chased the bus and stopped it. The driver didn’t know his ice had hit Payne’s car and gave his name and number.
Payne said she'll be off work for several days with a cut face and pain in her neck and shoulder. She said it could easily have been a fatal accident.
“I was very shaken up.”
Bonia considers himself lucky. He escaped with minor cuts to his face but is still suffering from neck pain and a "brutal headache."
He said it only takes a few minutes to clear a vehicle of ice and snow.
“It’s a five-minute job before you take your vehicle out onto the road — especially work trucks, because they don’t really see the ice on top of them but once the sun hits them and the vehicle warms up, [the ice] just flies off. Just take the five minutes and clear off the top of your trucks, that’s all I ask,” said Bonia.
He said he is giving the driver the benefit of the doubt, but would like the driver to contact him to set things right.
Bonia uses his car to drive around trying to find work and he can't afford to replace the broken windshield.
“So I’m screwed and this guy kept on going. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt because maybe he didn’t know what happened,” he said.
Halifax Regional Police said it is illegal to drive a tractor trailer without clearing the roof, but there are no laws requiring other vehicles to clear ice and packed snow before driving.
Payne said drivers should take the time to fully clear their car before driving to prevent similar accidents.