Leaving town? Here are some tips to keep you safe on the roads

Photo by Hayley Juhl

A week-long holiday is about to start and a bunch of people are going to head out of town where the air’s better. We walk and drive differently up here in the Laurentians, so here are a few tips to stay safe on our snowy, twisty roads.

SLOW DOWN, PULL OVER. The speed limit on the main road near me is 80 km/h. Even locals rarely go that fast in the winter and we don’t want you to, because it takes resources to pull you out of the ditch. We use rocks instead of salt, so the road will be slippery in places. Drive at a speed that makes you feel comfortable. If someone is behind you, find a safe place (not too close to a ditch, which will be deceptively soft) like a driveway to pull over — we’ll thank you by flashing our hazards as we go around.

SIGNAL EARLY. When you are approaching a turn or are going to pull onto the shoulder, signal far in advance. That lets us know that you’re slowing down and might hit the brakes, and we’ll give you lots of room.

WALK FACING TRAFFIC. We don’t have sidewalks and we don’t want them. Always walk facing traffic, so we can see each other. I’ll probably wave hello, and if I don’t, you’ll be able to see if I’m distracted and jump out of my way. When should you not walk facing traffic? If you’re going up a blind hill, it’s safer to cross the road until you make the crest.

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