A- A+

Information Bulletin - Spring Driving

April 5, 2007

Spring weather can test drivers’ skills

Edmonton… In Alberta, driving in the spring means melting snow, icy roads, even the occasional blizzard, in addition to rain, fog, potholes, gravel and sand covered roads.

When these driving conditions exist, motorists must use extra caution on the roadways. The most important thing is to reduce the speed to match the current visibility, traffic and road conditions. This will increase reaction time in an emergency.

Don't forget winter driving tips and practices because spring blizzards can also include large accumulations of snow in a short period of time. Keep snow and winter safety equipment handy. Consider the following safety tips to deal with slippery roads, poor visibility, wet weather, potholes, and sand and gravel covered roads.

  • Turn on the headlights whether it's day or night. Rapid changes in spring temperatures can quickly form misty, foggy conditions that can limit visibility.
  • Use low beams or fog lights only, as high beams will reflect off the moisture in the air and throw light back into your eyes.
  • Keep windows clear and have extra windshield washer fluid.
  • If visibility is a problem and you can’t see well enough to drive pull as far off the road as you safely can. Use the vehicle's hazard lights to warn other drivers of your presence.
  • Slow down when approaching puddles as it can be difficult to judge how deep they are.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. This decreases the risk of tires riding on a film of water instead of being in firm contact with the road surface (hydroplaning). If the vehicle starts to hydroplane, reduce speed and don't brake or turn.
  • Watch for potholes and try to go around them without affecting other traffic. Have the vehicle's wheel alignment checked regularly because potholes can damage tires, suspension and alignment.
  • Reduce speed on roads with an accumulation of sand and gravel. Slowing down will help in stopping and steering ability and will create less dust improving visibility.
  • Watch out for ripples in the road commonly known as washboards when travelling on gravel and oil-based roads. When encountering washboard, keep a firm grasp on the steering wheel and slow down by gradually letting your foot off the gas pedal.

For more information about traffic safety, contact the Office of Traffic Safety at (780) 422-8839 or visit http://www.saferoads.com/.

- 30 -

Media enquiries may be directed to:

Jeanette Espie
Office of Traffic Safety
Alberta Transportation
(780) 427-6588
Eileen McDonald
Alberta Transportation
(780) 422-0842 Cell: 422-0842

To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.