In my career I’ve many different stories and columns about road safety. Wearing your seatbelt, lights on for life, defensive driving, stop messing around with your cell phone and much more.
This past week the region was horrified and saddened by the crash, which occurred on Hwy. #2A where five young people from Maskwacis were killed. Most details have yet to be released; an eyewitness told The Pipestone Flyer editor the crash appeared to be a head-on collision, but that hasn’t been confirmed by the RCMP.
Two Pipestone Flyer staff passed through the section of Hwy. #2A where the collision occurred, about five minutes south of Millet only minutes before the crash occurred. Another staff member was there at almost the time the crash occurred.
This column isn’t a lecture about the tragedy in question and I’m not trying to be a know-it-all or pass judgment on anyone’s driving now, in the past or in the future. I just want to make a few suggestions about on Hwy. #2A on a regular basis.
I myself drive Hwy. #2A at least twice a day, once in the morning to get to work, once in the evening as I go home. Plus, there are plenty of times I have assignments in Wetaskiwin and use Hwy. #2A to get there.
First off, Hwy. #2A is busy. I’m not going to bore you with statistics and traffic counts from the provincial government. What I’d like to talk about is much more practical in nature: patience is a virtue. It’s not uncommon heading north out of Wetaskiwin or south out of Millet to see six or more vehicles lined up ahead of you on #2A. Hwy. #2A is a popular route to Leduc and Edmonton, so it sees a lot of light traffic, plus the amount of heavy traffic is substantial. On Wednesday, June 6 I drove into Wetaskiwin about 12 noon and on one stretch there were multiple light vehicles coming towards me and three large 18-wheeled trucks. That’s serious traffic.
Secondly, Hwy. #2A between Wetaskiwin and Leduc isn’t a great stretch of road for passing, especially between Wetaskiwin and Millet, which is very curvy and hilly. It’s a bit better to Leduc, but not by much. There are only a few spots with a single dotted line and if you combine this with point #1 above (lots of vehicles in front of you), some scary situations occur. A few months ago I was approaching Millet from the north, a little ways from the grocery store and watched a black pick-up truck passing someone while they were still in Millet. If I hadn’t slowed down and pulled over, the pick-up would’ve hit me.
Thirdly, Hwy. #2A intersects with quite a number of important roads, and motorists coming off those roads, like the Correction Line and Glen Park Road, are apparently unaware of the stop signs facing them. In Wetaskiwin, motorists turning left onto Hwy. #2A (13) from 56 Ave., between Adams motors and the car wash, routinely run the stop sign and cut traffic off that has the right-of-way on #2A. At the Hwy. #2A and #13 intersection a little ways north, there isn’t even a stop sign for the westbound #13 traffic.
Lastly, please drive the speed limit unless road conditions dictate otherwise; very slow moving traffic is frustrating and can be dangerous to other motorists. As noted, Hwy. #2A is very busy with few options for passing slow traffic and I’ve been stuck behind vehicles driving 70 km/hr on Hwy. #2A. On the way to Leduc one time, I thought I saw a vehicle stopped in the traffic lane. It turned out it was a fellow driving about 50 km/hr.
Let’s all get home alive.
Stu Salkeld is editor of The Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.