© Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Police, fire and ambulance responded to a collision at the corner of Central Avenue and Marquis Road on Monday afternoon. The Prince Albert Police Service is warning drivers to take it easy with slippery road conditions now upon us.
The first snowfall of winter means more dangerous driving conditions -- a seemingly trite point that area motorists must learn anew each year.
A spate of incidents in and around Prince Albert on Monday continued a longstanding tradition in which the onset of winter sees a spike in vehicle collisions and rollovers.
“I think there is a significant increase, at least until motorists get used to the road conditions and slowing down to suit the road conditions,” Prince Albert Police Sgt. Curtis Halcro said.
“I think there is a bit of a period where motorists are getting used to the slippery roads again, and that’s why we’re sending out the reminder to use caution, reduce your speeds and stay focused on the roads.”
Three separate incidents occurred on Monday morning alone.
At 7:45 a.m., Parkland Ambulance Paramedics responded to a vehicle collision on the Sixth Avenue East overpass near 19th Street East. Paramedics at the scene reported no injuries.
At 9:33 a.m., paramedics responded to a single vehicle rollover five kilometres south of MacDowall on Highway 11. No injuries were reported at the scene.
At 10:18 a.m., paramedics responded to a second single vehicle collision on Highway 11 near MacDowall. They cared for two people with injuries, both of whom have been transported to hospital in good condition for further care.
The upswing in vehicle accidents that coincides with the first snowfall each year defies local efforts to promote winter road safety.
“It’s a little frustrating, but it is what it is,” Halcro said.
Slow down. Sgt. Curtis Halcro
“Certainly there are lots of new drivers every year that have to be reminded as well -- new operators just recently get their licence, maybe this is the first winter that they’ve been driving under these kinds of conditions.
“But for the most part, people know that we have to reduce our speeds, especially at intersections and when conditions are quite severe and visibility is reduced.”
Police may issue a range of tickets related to weather conditions, such as driving too fast for road conditions.
Motorists in poor weather should make sure they are driving slow enough for the conditions at hand, regardless of posted speed limits.
“Those speed limits are recommendations,” Halcro noted. “You still have to operate your vehicle to the conditions on the roads.”
Another weather-related charge is undue care and attention.
Halcro noted that police are still handing out many tickets for people using their cellphones or texting while driving.
“A lot of these accidents are unfortunately caused because people are not being focused on what they’re doing, which is operating that motor vehicle,” he said.
Reiterating his message, Halcro offered a simple piece of advice for area drivers heading into winter: “Slow down.”