Alberta RCMP members are reminding residents of safe driving habits on roads and intersections. According to Alberta Transportation’s data from 2016, the most frequent driver errors leading to intersection collisions were improper left turns, stop sign violations and disobeying traffic signals.
Drivers are urged to obey signs and signals, making full stops at red lights and stop signs. Cst. Michael Hagel says that slowing down and obeying traffic signs is important for road conditions this time of year.
“With the roads being as icey as they are, there’s that thin layer of ice underneath the snowfall that we always get. I’d ask that all drivers slow down when they’re approaching intersections, slow down when they stop signs,” says Hagel.
Mounties also remind everyone to slow down as they approach an intersection, stop and check all traffic before proceeding. Hagel says that not driving to the conditions can be both risky and costly, as a careless driving ticket can result from trying to drive the speed limit in poor conditions.
“It is 50 km/h, but that’s for prime conditions. Just because the speed limit is fifty doesn’t mean you need to go 50 km/h. You need to drive to the road conditions.”
The safety tips also advise people to remember right of way rules at four-way stops, leaving room between vehicles when stopping, using turn signals and watching to make sure it’s safe to turn. Drivers are also reminded that pedestrians have the right of way in all marked and unmarked crosswalks.
Paying attention is also very important. Mounties suggest staying aware of pedestrians, changing lights, slippery roads and other expected or unexpected conditions before proceeding through an intersection. Drivers are also reminded that a yellow light means to slow down, not to speed up before it turns red.
Pedestrians are also reminded of their responsibilities for staying safe. Jaywalking is a ticketable offence and pedestrians are reminded to always use crosswalks and pedestrian signals when available. Cst. Hagel teaches kids the importance of this as a School Resource Officer for LCSD, even when there isn’t a marked crosswalk.
“Go to the corner. If there’s no crosswalk available, go to the corner. Make sure you make eye contact with the driver and that driver can see what you’re doing and knows what your intent is,” says Hagel. He adds that staying aware of drivers when crossing is important so you can tell that they’re stopping.
“Don’t just step out on the street because you think that car is going to slow down. Because that car might be driving too fast for the road conditions, and it’s going to slide. So make sure you see that car slowing down, coming to at least an almost stop, and then you can proceed.”