ANY ALBERTAN DRIVER knows that winter roads can present driving conditions that are, at best, challenging and, at worst, treacherous. But that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down when the weather warms up.
“It’s important to remember that the summer also presents its own challenges—more and different road users and, perhaps, some complacency about road conditions,” says Jeff Kasbrick, vice-president of advocacy and operations at AMA. “We all have responsibilities as road users—motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike—to be alert.”
In a typical year, there are more than 130,000 traffic collisions and 200 related fatalities in Alberta, according to annual statistics compiled by the provincial government. But it’s in the summer months, particularly long weekends, when some of the deadliest incidents occur on Alberta’s roads. July typically has the highest number of fatal collisions—26 in 2019 and 31 in 2020. “Nearly every collision is preventable,” notes Kasbrick. “Whether it’s following too closely or driving distracted, our actions as motorists can put other road users at unnecessary risk.” All road users should be aware of their surroundings and have a safety-first mindset. This includes scanning ahead, exercising caution and assuming that you may not be seen or heard by other road users. “We’re all a part of a shared driving community and we all have a role to play,” says Kasbrick.
SCHOOL ZONE SAFETY
Here’s some tips to keep in mind when driving in school zones.
Keep these tips in mind when using the road this summer, no matter your mode of transport. “Remember, not everyone will see you,” warns Kasbrick, “and now, with electric and hybrid vehicles and electric scooters, we can’t always assume we’ll hear things, too.”
• Slow down for cyclists (as for any other vehicle) and wait until it’s safe to pass.
• Move into another lane to pass a cyclist.
• Never pass a vehicle slowing down near a crosswalk.
• Ride single-file on the road. Avoid cycling on the sidewalk.
• Use a bell and hand signals to communicate with other road users.
• Come to a complete stop at intersections.
• Use crosswalks and controlled intersections where possible.
• Put away your cellphone and headphones when crossing a street.