“If someone is aggressivelytailgating you, don’t getpressured into speeding.”— Sharon Richards, AMA Driver Education
doesn’t mean you should travel that fastduring the winter. It’s a limit, not a target:The posted speed is the maximum speedallowed during ideal conditions, notevery condition. Driving on a blanketof snow is not the same as driving ona dry and bare road. Drivers should bedriving well below the limit, whether inthe city or on the highway. Plus, driversshouldn’t feel pressured by those whowon’t slow down. “If someone is aggressively tailgating you, slow down and letthem pass you by. Don’t get pressuredinto speeding,” adds Richards.
One way to help ensure you are maintaining a safe speed and being defensiveon the highway is to avoid using cruisecontrol. “In cruise control, you mighthave the tendency to ‘cruise,’ rather thanbeing totally engaged and paying attention,” explains Paul Oss, Public AffairsOfficer with Alberta Transportation. Youmay be less aware of your speed andthere can be a delayed response whenyou hit the brake.
plan your route
What you do before you get into yourvehicle can be as important as what youdo behind the wheel. “You have to prepareyourself for winter driving, and you haveto prepare your car,” says Gardner. “Wesee too many people driving with foggedor icy windows.” Take the time beforeheading out to clear your roofs, windows
Brush up on the rules
Regardless of skill or experience, alldrivers should review the Alberta BasicLicence Driver’s Handbook at least everyfive years to keep themselves current,says Richards. Rules are constantlychanging, and if it’s been years since yougot your licence, it’s probably time to hitthe books. For example, drivers mustnow slow to 60 km/h or less when passing emergency vehicles stopped or withtheir lights flashing.
Free downloadable copies of thehandbook are available on the AlbertaTransportation website at transportation.alberta.ca.
Hands-on refresher training canalso help drivers gain more confidenceand improve their awareness of traffichazards and knowledge of new laws.
Many driving schools have special
winter courses designed to give students
the skills they need to stay safe in the
and mirrors of any snow or ice.
“It is against the law to drive when your
windows or windshield are obstructed,”
confirms Oss. “People need to know that is
something they should be very careful of.”
Before leaving on a trip during the
winter, plan your route and give yourself
lots of time to reach your destination.
Oss also suggests you let someone know
where you’re going, your planned route,
destination and expected time of arrival.
Most local radio stations broadcast road
conditions every 10 to 15 minutes, and
municipal websites, such as the City
of Calgary and the City of Edmonton,
display traffic cameras online.
Alberta’s variable weather conditions(and size) pose a wide range of problemsfor drivers. “It could be sunny and dry inEdmonton, but by the time you reach FortMcMurray, snow is blowing everywhere,”says Richards. Before hitting the highwayon longer journeys, it’s good to check roadreports for the entire route so you don’tencounter unwelcome surprises. “If youknow there’s snow ahead of you, youcan leave earlier in anticipation of slowerdriving conditions,” says Richards.
Alberta Transportation’s maintenancecontractors submit road condition information to AMA Road Reports, which areavailable online at AMARoadReports.ca.You can also view 78 highway camerasacross Alberta on the AMA’s website( ama.ab.ca).