A combination of black ice and speed led to numerous vehicle rollovers on Hwy 2 on Wednesday.
Innisfail and Ponoka RCMP freeway patrols were steadily called out to help motorists whose vehicles ended up in ditches. Many of these cars and trucks rolled once they hit a snowbank, leaving a few motorists with minor injuries.
“It boils down to people going too fast for the conditions,” said Const. Vincent Hetu of Ponoka RCMP Freeway Patrol.
He counted at least five single-vehicle collisions on Wednesday between the Hwy 11A intersection at Hwy 2 and Millet.
Many involved pickup trucks and SUVs that weren’t carrying a lot of weight in the back.
These vehicles slipped off the highway while changing lanes.
“The lanes are not (snow) covered,” said Hetu, who believes this fooled some drivers into assuming road conditions are dry, “when they are actually frozen over with typical black ice.”
He urged all motorists to slow down, saying the posted highway speeds are for ideal conditions.
“When the lanes are partially snow covered, or there’s inclement weather, there’s nothing to stop you from driving slower.”
Lacombe fire department Chief Ed Van Delden assisted at four collisions.
“There was a rash of them this morning,” he said. One was a two-vehicle crash, and the rest involved single vehicles that left the road. Motorists in two rollovers had minor injuries.
Besides people going too fast, distracted drivers are still a concern, added Van Delden, “but the roads were more of a factor today.”
Const. Doug Dewar of Innisfail RCMP Freeway Patrol was also called to several collisions, including a two-vehicle crash at the Cottonwood Road overpass.
Drivers were dealing with blowing and drifting snow, but nothing like the blizzard conditions near Didsbury.
Sometimes people drive too fast for their abilities, road conditions — or the state of their vehicles, said Dewar, who noted bald summer tires were not cutting it on the highways on Wednesday.