Winter has arrived in the Grande Prairie region and the RCMP has issued a few safety tips to help motorists drive carefully in snowy conditions.
According to RCMP Public Information Officer Corporal Mathew Howell, residents are encouraged to take a few simple steps this winter to ensure road safety for themselves, and those around them.
Howell says swapping summer tires out for winters is the first step to take to make sure you’re safe on icy roads.
“One thing is make sure you have your winter tires on, I know it’s not a law in Alberta but winter tires do help when big, heavy snowfalls come,” he says. “People need to understand that yes even though you don’t have to it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, so get those on and make sure your car is running appropriately in order to be safe out there.”
Additionally, Howell says running through a quick analysis of your vehicle before your journey can expose any issues before they become a safety hazard on the road.
“Make sure your breaks are working, make sure everything in your car is working up to standard to make sure you’re safe.”
Howell adds that taking precautions before driving is equally as important as being mindful on the road while driving. He says while it might be tempting to bunch up for safety, it is important to keep a safe distance between vehicles.
“Once you do hit the road, make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings, if you’re going to turn make sure you put your turn signal on as early as possible,” he says. “It’s mostly for people behind you to be aware of what you are doing and they can react accordingly.”
“Sticking together to a certain extent, never too close, you want to make sure that you’re not too close to the person in front of you, especially if visibility is low you won’t necessarily know if they hit their breaks before it’s too late.”
Howell says the RCMP is emphasizing the importance of using discretion while driving in dangerous conditions
“Always drive to the conditions of the road, even if you’re in a 100 zone but it’s safer to drive at 60, drive at whatever feels safest according to the road conditions.”
Foggy conditions remain a hazard as temperatures continue to fluctuate, resulting in low visibility and Howell says sometimes the best action to take is none at all.
“The thicker the fog, normally the less long it’ll last so to speak so if ever there’s a way to avoid travelling or just pull over somewhere for a bit and let it pass, especially if you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you, that’s your safest bet.”
“Using fog lights only helps so much, they only give you maybe an extra foot or two of visibility sometimes so unfortunately if it’s really so bad that you can’t see, you have to ask the question- is risking your life or someone else’s life worth those extra few minutes?”
Despite the weekend snowfall, temperatures are expected to rise with favourable conditions throughout the week.