A video posted on social media shows a number of vehicles parked underneath an overpass on the QEII Highway during a storm this past weekend.
The dashcam footage, which was posted Saturday on Reddit, shows more than a dozen vehicles parked under the bridge at Gasoline Alley in Red Deer County as rain and light hail fell.
A few vehicles are parked on the shoulder of the highway, but others are parked in the right lane.
“Anytime you’ve got a storm of any kind with reduced visibility, it’s incredibly important not to block the roadway of traffic,” Alberta RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff.
“If you’re one of those more cautious drivers and you’re trying to seek shelter, you have to understand there are other drivers who will not. Then your vehicle is presenting an obstacle on that roadway with drivers driving at highway speeds with reduced visibility. That presents some pretty significant safety risks.”
The video was originally posted on the Edmonton sub-Reddit and has received more than 1,500 upvotes and nearly 400 comments, as of Monday morning.
Martin Wiseman, Alberta Motor Association’s chief driving instructor, said he understands the mindset people have when trying to get out of the hail, but said parking underneath an overpass creates congestion and puts drivers at risk.
“As we saw in that dashcam video, the visibility was terrible,” said Wiseman.
“Traction and visibility are the two key issues in heavy rain. That’s why it makes this such a dangerous thing to do. Even those who are pulling off onto the shoulder, people should remember that the shoulder is only for emergencies. It’s not to shelter them from the hail. We live in Alberta, we have to accept we’re going to get hail every single year.”
Wiseman said he was “quite shocked” to see how only a few of the drivers had taillights on in the video.
The Alberta Motor Association offers the following tips for people driving in hail:If you can, your first and best option is to leave the road and park in a safe, covered area that is not likely to flood, like a gas station with an awning.
Do not stop in traffic lanes below bridges. This creates a dangerous crash risk.
If you can’t seek shelter, pull off the road as far as possible, turn on your hazards, and remain in the vehicle, keeping your face turned away from windows.
While stopped, remain in your vehicle until the hail has passed over, to prevent possible injury.
“If you decide you’re going to stop, pull off of that highway – don’t stop at the side of the highway. Take the exit ramp and stop somewhere that’s safe, legal and isn’t going to create more of an issue,” said Wiseman, adding it’s important for drivers to be alert of others who may not be following the rules of the road.
“No matter what we do, people are still going to do this. They’re wanting to protect their vehicles (from hail) and not thinking of the bigger picture. People can die doing this. When you look at it in those simple terms, I would rather have hail damage than have killed someone or died myself.”