Avoiding accidents
Deh Cho drivers reminded to adjust to winter conditions

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Oct 29/99) - The snow and ice have arrived and the number of mishaps on the roads are beginning to add up.

RCMP in Fort Simpson have had several people visit their detachment office to fill out motor vehicle accident forms over the past three weeks.

"I would say that yes, there's definitely an increase in MVAs (motor vehicle accidents) since the cold weather started and the roads have got slippery," Cpl. Steve Corcoran said.

That's not highly unusual by any means, Corcoran added. Many drivers take a while before they adjust to winter conditions. He advises that, first and foremost, drivers pay attention to the weather and road conditions and drive at a safe speed.

"Just because the speed limit is 90 (km/h), if you're driving and it's snowy, the safe speed might be only 40," he said.

In Fort Liard, Const. Merle Carpenter said there's also been a spate of accidents.

"There hasn't been hardly any all summer and now we've had three in a week," he said. "There's always an increase in the fall with the fresh snow, the cold weather and the icy road."

His recommendation -- very simply -- "Slow down. Just be careful and drive where you feel comfortable."

There are ways to be prepared, just in case. Corcoran noted that a first-aid kit and an emergency kit -- containing such things as a blanket, a shovel, a candle and some snacks -- are also recommended in winter. Motorists may find themselves in need of such items or may be in a position to help out others in need.

In the Fort Providence area, there have been a few accidents "here and there," but not a truly noticeable difference, according to Const. Franco Rudeschi.

"I guess we've been kind of lucky because it's been a little milder here," he said. "I noticed the road to Yellowknife a little farther north of here has been pretty slippery."

On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation's road report described Highway No. 1 in the Fort Simpson area and Highway No. 7 in the Fort Liard area as having icy patches and rough sections with potholes. In Fort Providence, fresh snow covered the roads and slippery conditions were expected.