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CAA Saskatchewan offers tips for safe travels this holiday season

With the holiday season comes increased time on the roads, unpredictable driving conditions and increased risk for Saskatchewan drivers.

According to CAA Saskatchewan, the holidays are among the busiest times of the year when it comes to requests for roadside assistance.

More vehicles are on the road, and are driving longer distances than usual during a time when weather often creates less-than-desirable conditions. CAA Saskatchewan communications director Christine Niemczyk said preparation and patience are key ⁠— for both you and your vehicle.

“We recommend winter tires. Those offer better traction and it’s never too late to install them,” she said.

“We also say you should check your brake fluid, wiper fluid and your oil fluid. You want to make sure you’ve got operating seatbelts, and make sure you’ve got a good battery.”

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(Battery Depot manager Gary Gaudon says a quick trip to the mechanic to check your block heater, battery and alternator can help ensure a headache-free winter in your vehicle.)

Niemczyk said that in Saskatchewan, car batteries typically last three to five years, and that if the mercury drops below -15 C you should plug in your block heater to help vehicle fluids stay warm and viscous.

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“And what we say at CAA is drive according to the current weather and road conditions,” Niemczyk said.

“If the roads are icy, if there’s a lot of snow, if you see traffic slowing down, please be prepared to make changes in your driving behaviour.”

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The government of Saskatchewan, meanwhile, is highlighting its Highway Hotline road information system as holiday travel ramps up.

“In an effort to continuously improve service to citizens, the Government of Saskatchewan recently added some additional cameras to the Highway Hotline,” said Highways Minister Jeremy Cockrill in a Thursday news release.

“This supplements the road information which is readily available for travelers.”

The Highway Hotline provides details on highway conditions, road closures, construction zones, ferries and border crossings.

It can be accessed online or by calling 5-1-1 or 1-888-335-7623. Users can also download an app on both Apple and Android devices.

Conditions are updated at least thrice daily.

Six new cameras were added to the system this past month in the following locations.

  • Highway 4 at Sask Landing
  • Highway 1 at Wapella
  • Highway 9 at Round Lake
  • Highway 46 Overpass over Highway 1 at Balgonie
  • Highway 1 at Tower Road Interchange at Regina
  • Uranium City Airport

SGI is also reminding drivers that a safe holiday drive is a sober holiday drive.

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“The best present you can give someone is your presence,” said SGI president and CEO Penny McCune in a release.

“By always having a safe ride, you can be there for them this year and for many holidays to come.”

Police will be conducting check stops throughout the holidays across Saskatchewan.

To stay safe, drivers can call a sober friend or family member, bring a designated driver to the party, call a cab or ride share or use public transit to avoid getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

If all else fails you can always stay the night.

Click to play video: 'Flight cancellations leave many Saskatchewan residents grounded for the holidays'
Flight cancellations leave many Saskatchewan residents grounded for the holidays

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