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Letter: Driving precautions a must for everyone

December 27 Highway 2 fatal collision is extremely tragic for all the people involved

Re: Carstairs fire chief recounts fatal multi-vehicle pileup on Highway 2

Fatal multi-vehicle collision of December 27 on Highway 2 was avoidable.

It is extremely tragic for all the people involved but perhaps all responsible drivers can learn some tips to avoid these situations in the future and save lives including our own.

All of us are going to experience terrible weather as drivers in Alberta. Fog, blizzards, heavy rain and slippery roads are normal. These factors are beyond our control.

I got caught driving in this fog in the afternoon of that day. You could not see the big green traffic signs at one hundred feet. Yet most people were not controlling those factors that would reduce collisions.

Before you go, check 511 to be aware of predicted road warnings. If you have to drive anyway: do not drive tired. Take a nap somewhere. Make sure you are not impaired.

Drive at a safe speed. I have driven many miles, including some professional, and I estimated a safe speed to be 90 kilometres an hour  (km/h) during the daylight. 

Some people were doing the same but most were going much faster thus increasing the chance of rear end collisions. Just being able to see the lines is not good enough. Many seem to consider posted speed limits a minimum.

Leave at least one car length for every 10 km/h between you and the car ahead. This allows you a better chance to stop. 

Have your headlights, fog lights and your taillights on. Many vehicles do not turn on the rear lights automatically in poor conditions. Some do not even have headlights on. Being seen reduces risks.

Use your rear view mirror often to predict where you will go if something happens.

Use your four-way flashers only if needed because of dangers in progress ahead. Otherwise get off the road as soon as possible if you are scared. 

We cannot control factors such as the weather but we can control many factors to make sure we all get home safely.

John Pierzchalski,


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