After a tiring and hectic day on Tuesday, December 6, Falon McGowan who lives in Crossfield, received a text message from her 61-year-old father, Richard. The message was a Tiktok clip of an incident that happened earlier.
That afternoon, Airdrie Rural RCMP responded to a serious motor vehicle collision on Highway 2, just north of Township Road 274, in the southbound lanes. A vehicle has collided with a snow plow.
"When I saw it, because I know that he works on the highways and [the incident] involved a plow truck, I was automatically upset," she said. "Then once he told me it was him, I was understandably even more upset."
McGowan's father had been in the clearing the shoulder when an SUV came up behind him and was rear-ended. After learning that it was her father who had been involved in the accident, she took to social media to remind motorists that those who work on the roads have families.
"We all drive on these roads and I think we've all been witness to people going too fast or not driving according to road conditions. My dad's been working on [the] snowplows, and in the summer, he does road maintenance. So, it's obviously pretty upsetting when I see people flying by road workers," she said. "To have it hit so close to home; road workers are family members, they're husbands and fathers and grandfathers."
Her father, though not injured during the collision, would immediately call 9-1-1 and as soon as emergency crews arrived, he would help the driver of the SUV.
"He was pulling the driver out of his vehicle and helping him to the ambulance," McGowan said. "This definitely was a huge reality check for me and all my family members and friends."
According to the province of Alberta, before passing a snowplow on a 2-lane highway (1 lane in each direction) motorists should make sure they can see far enough ahead and that passing is permitted by the road markings or signs. Even when passing is permitted, it is safer to stay well back until the snowplow operator can safely move over to allow vehicles to pass.
Snow plow operators will move to the side of the road, where it is safe, every 5 to 8 kilometres to allow vehicles to pass. Motorists should maintain a safe following distance. Most maintenance vehicles will have a sign at the rear to let motorists know the minimum safe following distance.
"This is definitely an ongoing issue and the more awareness we can bring to it, the better and I don't just mean snowplows; tow trucks too," McGowan concluded.
Sgt. Deanna Fontaine of the RCMP confirmed that driving conditions on Tuesday, December 6 were dangerous, with poor visibility and patches of black ice; but there were no indications that the driver of the SUV was travelling at dangerous speeds. She did underline, however, that according to the Traffic Safety Act, a driver may be stopped even if they are going at the posted speed limit if that speed limit is deemed dangerous due to weather conditions. Currently, no charges or tickets have been laid in the case.
RCMP is continuing to investigate the collision.
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