RCMP Alberta – Alberta’s highways are busy places, and in the summertime, there are more trucks, tractor-trailers and buses on Alberta roads. This greater mix of vehicles increases the risk of commercial and passenger vehicle collisions. The Alberta RCMP reminds motorists that every road user has a part to play in ensuring their own #SummerSafety, and that of others, by following some handy traffic tips.
Motorists and riders around you should always see you and know what you are doing. Stay alert to the actions of other drivers at intersections and signal well in advance when planning to turn or change lanes to give other drivers time to react accordingly. (Alberta Transportation 2015)
Drivers of passenger vehicles: Your vehicle is likely smaller than most commercial vehicles so pay extra attention to your blind spots. Allow yourself extra time to pass a big rig and never cut in front of commercial vehicles. Make sure to stay far enough behind big trucks to see both side mirrors on the truck. (Alberta Transportation 2015)
Drivers of commercial vehicles: Proper pre- and post-trip inspections help you ensure that your vehicle is within the allowed weight limit and in good operating condition. Maintain a large following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you when there is a large truck behind you requiring a longer stopping distance. (Alberta Transportation 2009, 2015)
Riders of ATVs and other off-highway vehicles (OHV): During the summer months, ATV enthusiasts hit off-road trails. Make sure you always wear proper safety gear, obey the rules of the road, respect posted signs and use age-appropriate ATVs. All ATV operators under 16 years of age must not drive an adult-size ATV.
Cyclists: Motorists and cyclists need to respect each other, watch out for each other and give each other a safe space to operate in. Make sure you wear the appropriate safety gear.
All drivers: It is never okay to drive any vehicle impaired. The dangerous practice of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is unfortunately still common. Impaired driving affects drivers of all vehicles, including off-roaders. In June 2016, there were five ATV fatalities in Alberta RCMP jurisdiction, three of which involved alcohol impairment.
Fatigue is also a form of impairment. Fatigue affects your ability to drive by slowing reaction time, decreasing awareness and impairing judgement. When planning a road trip, make sure to include rest stops and pull over if you’re tired.
Construction zones pose their own set of risks. Obey all signs, slow down, watch for road workers and be prepared to stop. When workers are present, fines for speeding in construction zones double.
Supt. Gary Graham, Alberta RCMP Traffic Services, reminds us that “sharing the road with other vehicles, no matter the type, is essential to keeping our roads safe. Large commercial vehicles can be dangerous if you are not aware of their limitations. They take longer to stop, have larger blind spots and may not see you.”
“Highway traffic is everyone’s business” says Supt. Rick Gardner, Alberta Sheriffs Traffic Operations. He adds that “driving off-road does not mean that you are not subject to the same laws. The majority of the collisions we deal with are still a result of speed, drivers impaired by drugs and/or alcohol and not wearing appropriate gear.”