County residents skidded off roads and into pretty much everything else Monday as a rash of collisions signalled the start of winter driving season.
A sprinkling of snow plus just-below-zero temperatures was enough to cause about 11 accidents in St. Albert and Sturgeon County between 4 and 6:30 p.m. Monday, according to RCMP. Blowing snow and freezing rain turned most streets into ice, prompting many Highway 2 drivers to plod along at 75 kilometres an hour.
The treacherous conditions caused four collisions in half an hour on Hwy. 37 near Starkey Rd., said Staff Sgt. Mac Richards of the Morinville RCMP, with cars careening into ditches and light poles. There were no injuries, he said, but they had to close part of the highway for a bit just to clear the cars.
St. Albert had a similar spike of seven collisions between 4 and 6:30 p.m., said St. Albert RCMP Cpl. Laurel Kading, four of which were on McKenney Ave. One person was treated for minor injuries.
The message to drivers from both officers was the same: slow the heck down. “One hundred kilometres an hour is appropriate for summer time,” Richards said, “but 100 km/hr. is not appropriate for winter time.”
This many collisions in such a short time puts a serious stretch on police resources, Kading added. Residents should only travel when necessary during these slippery conditions, and be particularly careful around hills, curves and intersections — all notorious spots for ice.
Visit ama.ab.ca for other winter driving tips.