It looks like the winter weather has come to stay for the season and the Wood Buffalo RCMP are continually reminding motorists to slow down and take the road and weather conditions into consideration when venturing onto the roadways. Weather conditions can be unpredictable. During the winter months, road conditions can change quickly and often. Motorists should be driving according to the current conditions, even if their vehicle is equipped with winter tires. The maximum speed limits posted along the highways are for ideal road conditions when it is warm and dry.
Safe Winter Driving Tips:
- Check the area road and weather reports prior to departing. Delay your trip if necessary to allow conditions to improve. Ensure that you have enough fuel to make it to your destination.
- Ensure that you are prepared for your travel. A cell phone, winter clothing and blankets, along with a survival kit in your vehicle, will assist with emergency preparedness and response.
- Winter tires are highly recommended. Look for the mountain and snowflake emblem. Do not confuse winter rated tires with mud and snow (M+S) rated tires. Check you tire pressure.
- Remove snow and ice from your vehicle’s head lights, tail lights and windows to ensure your vision is optimal and so other motorists can see you. Check your wipers and washer fluid level.
- Turn on you lights, even during the day. Regular head lights are often brighter than daytime running lights, and also activate your tail lights, making your vehicle more visible to others.
- As always, buckle up when you get into a vehicle. Seatbelts save lives, wear yours. Winter roads contribute to an increased risk of being involved in a motor vehicle collision.
- Avoid the use of cruise control. Winter driving requires you to be in full control of your vehicle at all times. An unexpected patch of ice or gust of wind can cause you to lose control.
- Avoid rapid acceleration, forceful braking and jerking movements of the steering wheel. These can cause skidding and loss of control. These actions should be smooth and gradual.
- If you begin to skid, do not panic. Remain calm and shift your vehicle to neutral. This will stop the drive train from propelling the vehicle forward. Steer gently in the direction you wish to go.
- If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Your vehicle provides shelter from the cold. Conserve fuel and power. Clear snow away from your exhaust pipe. Stay awake.
Motorists can face a variety of traffic offences for their poor driving behavior. A fine of $172.00 for driving too fast for road and weather conditions (Drive at Unreasonable Rate of Speed) and a fine of $402.00 for driving without due care and attention (Careless Driving) can be issued.
The Wood Buffalo RCMP aims to educate the public about road safety issues, and ultimately make our roads and communities safety for everyone. Reducing fatalities and serious injuries associated with motor vehicle collision s is a primary objective of the “Road Safety” initiative.