Winter driving in southern Alberta is already snow-packed, icy, slushy, bitter cold — you name it, southern Alberta road conditions have it all throughout the winter months and well into spring.
If distracted driving or impaired driving is added to bad winter driving conditions — it can be costly and deadly for southern Alberta motorists.
During the holiday season highways become busier with motorists travelling to and fro, while spiked egg nog and other festive spirits are imbibed to celebrate the season with family and friends.
Drinking and driving don’t mix — ever. Smoking a joint or using another drug and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is illegal. Talking or texting on the phone is also against the law. But, some motorists choose to do one or all three, when in the driver’s seat.
Young and old are guilty of the aforementioned crimes. Yes, they are crimes and many times the crimes aren’t victimless.
When a motorist drinks or smokes pot and drives, he/she puts everyone on the road at risk, including the one guilty of making a bad choice. When a motorist picks up a call on a cellphone or texts a friend to tell them they are running late — in that split second lives can change. Higher speeds on highways don’t go well with drunk or high drivers or with Tammy Texters or Calvin Callers.
Rural roads, town or city routes and not-too-far-away from home is no place for drunk or high drivers or those using cellphones either.
Another issue on southern Alberta roadways is driver fatigue, which causes collisions and sometimes fatalities. Taking medication, which makes a driver drowsy, is also not a good combination. Driving while stressed and/or upset is not a good idea either but it basically comes down to common sense.
Having a driver’s licence is a privilege and can be revoked. Having a driver’s licence is a big responsibility. Therefore, southern Alberta drivers need to take driving seriously, especially in the winter months when road conditions worsen.
Driving to survive is not just an idea behind a Sunny South News special section in December. It should be a priority for motorists on southern Alberta roads or across the province, throughout the country and while driving abroad.
Motorists should use the mantra, “Drive to Survive” — each and every time they hit the road this holiday season, heading into a New Year and beyond.
There are so many options available to motorists, if they ever come across a moment in time when they are confronted with a few of the issues discussed in this editorial.
Instead of going to a party or out to a pub or club in a vehicle, get a friend or family member to give you and/or your friends a ride and plan a pick up for later in the day or evening. Take a cab or bus to your journey’s end. If the location is within walking distance, walk or run or skip.
If you have been drinking or smoking pot or using other drugs at home or at a friend’s place — stay at home or at the friend’s place or again plan a ride by someone sober.
If you have been driving for hours and are tired, stop for a coffee or a bite to eat and relax and perhaps take a quick nap to refresh before heading out on the road. If you have a passenger, and they are alert, ask them to perhaps drive for a while, so you can rest. If you take meds and/or even cold medications that make you sleepy, don’t drive until the meds wear off.
When driving, keep cellphones or other electronic devices away in glove compartments or from view. When a cellphone rings or an alert pops up on the cellphone, it can be distracting to the driver, as he/she looks at the device or reaches for it by habit.
Using common sense while driving is imperative this holiday season and anytime on southern Alberta roads. This holiday season drive to survive.