December started with a nice snowfall on Thursday, although drivers in and around Red Deer might not have seen it that way.
There were a number of crashes in the area, including a semi rollover on the QEII south of Hwy 42, and a few vehicles hitting the ditch.
Ron Wilson, manager of the Alberta Motor Association’s Driver Education department, said that unfortunately, often there are incidents when the first real snowfall occurs because people don’t adapt to changing conditions.
“When you’re driving on dry roads, dry pavement, you’re keeping at least a three-second following distance. … That’s too close on a day like today. In winter driving conditions you want to increase that to at least a four-to-six-second following distance.”
The number one collision in Alberta is following too close, Wilson said.
The other thing that people don’t do is slowdown, he said, Just because the sign may say 110 km/h, that means under ideal conditions. “Unfortunately some people seem to forget that.”
People can also plan ahead. “We knew yesterday we were likely getting snow today so you can plan, leave earlier, or not travel if you don’t have to. … Once you get out there, adjust your speed to the conditions.”
“Just be courteous and patient and give yourself lots of time. Everyone is trying to get where they’re going, so we want to do it safely.”
The AMA does offer online winter driving courses that offer strategies and techniques. It also does offer the online in combination with actually going out on the road, as well as courses for companies.