January weather in Alberta is nothing short of inhospitable. Whether you're a newcomer to town or a long-time resident, staying warm and safe in east central Alberta can be tough.
One of the big misconceptions about winter driving is that, as long as the roads look good, it's business as usual. Not so, explained Scott Wilson, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Alberta Motor Association.
"This time of year, when it gets really, really, really cold, like it is now, anything you apply to the road from a snow and ice perspective really doesn't work very well," he said. "[When] you get down to 30 below, etc., you're at the edge of effectiveness for snow and ice compounds."
"Salt doesn't do a really good job at this temperature," Wilson elaborated. "The only thing that'll get you some traction is sand and gravel, but even on very, very icy surfaces, that doesn't always work."
His number one tip for winter driving, regardless of the road conditions: slow down.
"It'll give you more time to react in the event that something does go wrong behind the wheel," he urged. "And, if you drive more slowly, you're automatically reducing the amount of energy that's associated with any crash, should it occur."
There have been a number of serious auto accidents this winter, including two fatal collisions last week.