Safety tips for winter driving in Alberta

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Safety tips for winter driving in Alberta
Christmas is just days away and many Albertans are hitting the road to get to their holiday destination. With extreme cold warnings still blanketing almost the entire province, that can add extra risks to those travelling. Quinn Campbell has some tips on how to best prepare for that cold highway journey. – Dec 20, 2022

Many Albertans will be venturing out on the highways this holiday season but the frigid temperatures blanketing parts of the province can make it dangerous. There are a few things drivers can do to protect themselves or prevent a situation from happening.

Ryan Lemont with the Alberta Motor Association said one thing is key.

“Being prepared before you head out,” he said. “I would recommend everything from packing an emergency kit if you don’t already have one, make sure you are carrying maybe an extra blanket, shovel, booster cables, some extra food and water and matches or tea lights.”

Read more: Another bout of harsh winter conditions hits central Alberta

Lemont said it’s important to make sure you have a full tank of gas, your headlights are on and to call someone ahead of time.

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“Letting someone know that you are taking a trip, if you are going out on the highway, maybe towards the mountains, let someone know you are leaving or when they can expect you.”

There are a few things drivers can do to try and prevent a breakdown. Ryan Hood with Harold’s Auto Services said to plug your car for at least two to four hours and check your block heater is working properly. Hood added drivers should make sure their oil change is up to date so their engine is running smoothly, top up their fluids, ensure their washer fluid is good for the extreme cold and make sure their tires are properly filled.

Read more: November snowfall hits southern Alberta, creates icy driving conditions

“Your traction is really going to depend on the pressure of the tires,” Hood said. “If you have too much pressure in those tires you are going to slip around and they’re not really going to do their job. Low tire pressure obviously the tire can heat up, you can have a blow out you can have lots of concerns that way so you want to be right close to the manufacture’s recommendation.”

Lemont is also reminding drivers to watch out for first responders and tow truck operators who show up to help when something does go wrong.

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“Please just slow down to 60 kilometres per hour or slower, give those folks lots of room to work so everyone can make it home safe.”

Another good tip, make sure your cell phone is charged up and kept warm so you can call for help if you need it.

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