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Police warn of intersection collision risk

Motorists need to exercise caution when approaching and moving through area intersections, especially during winter months when stopping distances can be greatly increased by icy conditions, says Sundre RCMP Sgt. Percy Leipnitz.

Motorists need to exercise caution when approaching and moving through area intersections, especially during winter months when stopping distances can be greatly increased by icy conditions, says Sundre RCMP Sgt. Percy Leipnitz.Intersection safety is an enforcement priority in January under Alberta RCMP's 2011 Traffic Safety Plan.In recent years collisions at intersections have been some of the most serious, and in some cases tragic, motor vehicle mishaps seen across the region, said Leipnitz.ìWe get quite a few collisions at intersections and they can be very dangerous,î said Leipnitz. ìThose collisions can often involve extensive damage and injuries.ìIn our area (Sundre detachment district) alone we've had fatalities at intersections on Highway 587, at the Bearberry Road and Highway 22 intersection, and at the Highway 22 and Highway 27 intersection east of Sundre.îProvincewide 57 people were killed and 7,820 people were injured in collisions at intersections in Alberta last year.Drivers failing to pay attention is at the root of many of the intersection collisions police see, he said.ìThe biggest problem is people just aren't looking well enough,î he said. ìThey come up to the intersection and take a quick glance and think it's clear. You've got to take your time. Take a real good look.ìAnd that's for all times of year ñ summer and winter, it doesn't matter. In wintertime you don't know if it's icy and you could slide right through. If you are coming up to any stop sign, you should be getting ready to slow down and stop.ìA lot of people come up to intersections at full blast and then hit the brakes. What happens if your brakes fail?îWhen it comes to pedestrian crossing safety, drivers need to be aware that pedestrians must reach the opposite curb before the motorist proceeds, he said.ìBe aware that if you have four lanes and you see a car stop, you better pay attention and ask yourself, ëWhy is that vehicle stopped?' Somebody could be crossing,î he said.As part of its Traffic Safety Plan for 2011, the RCMP has issued the following intersection safety tips:ï At intersections controlled by a stop sign, drivers must come to a complete stop before proceeding. Look for traffic from the sides and straight ahead, as well as pedestrians and cyclists.ï Do not block intersections so that other traffic may proceed when the light changes.ï If a traffic light is changing from green to amber ó slow down, cover your brake and prepare to stop.ï When vehicles arrive at an intersection controlled by four-way stop signs, allow the vehicle that arrived first to proceed. If vehicles arrive at approximately the same time, allow the vehicle on your right to proceed.ï Slow down when approaching uncontrolled intersections, and check left, centre and right for traffic and be prepared to stop. Yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.ï Slippery roads and limited visibility are common in winter, so adjust your speed accordingly. Avoid following too closely and give yourself more space to stop safely.ï Remember that pedestrians always have the right of way at intersections unless otherwise indicated.ï Be patient ó give elderly and disabled people more time to cross the road.ï Be prepared to yield to pedestrians who indicate they intend to cross the road. Pedestrians should extend an arm straight out and point across the road to indicate their intended direction.



Dan Singleton

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