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Slow down

RCMP urge caution on icy grid roads

Five in one day.
No, that's not the first line of a fairy tale. It's the reality that Humboldt RCMP were forced to deal with on Valentine's Day.
There were five single vehicle rollovers, most in the St. Gregor area, on February 14, reported Const. Darryl Ness, and all were due to drivers travelling too fast on icy roads.
There have been other rollovers recently, also on grid roads, Ness said, but "five in one day is ridiculous.
"Slow down," he stressed to drivers.
The first and most serious of the rollovers occurred at 9 a.m. on February 14 on Hwy. 5 just west of St. Gregor. The driver of a Dodge half-ton was attempting to pass another vehicle on the highway when he lost control and rolled into the south ditch.
The truck rolled a number of times in the ditch, filling up the cab with snow before coming to rest on its wheels again.
While the driver was able to get out of the vehicle without assistance, firefighters from the Humboldt Fire Department and crews from Humboldt and District Ambulance Service (HDAS) had to extricate the female passenger from the truck.
According to Humboldt Fire Chief Norbert LeBlanc, rescuers had to dig the snow out of the vehicle before they could get at the female passenger to remove her.
The highway was extremely slippery at the time of the crash, LeBlanc noted.
"Pure ice," he said.
Firefighters were on scene in about 25 minutes.
The male driver, a 67-year-old man from Spalding, and his passenger, a 31-year-old female from Quill Lake, were both transported to Humboldt District Hospital by HDAS with undetermined injuries.
Road conditions and speed were factors in the rollover.
The second rollover occurred at 1 p.m. that afternoon. A 47-year-old woman from Prince Albert was driving a 2000 Chevy Blazer northbound on Muyres road near St. Gregor. She was about two miles north of Hwy. 5 when she lost control of her vehicle and rolled into the west ditch.
The woman had planned to visit her daughter, a 29-year-old woman who lives up the road, Ness noted.
When she was notified by her mother of the rollover, the daughter jumped into her vehicle, a 2003 Mazda, and headed southbound on Muyres road to pick her up. However, she also lost control of her vehicle and rolled into the east ditch.
The two vehicles ended up about 200 metres apart, Ness indicated, on opposite sides of the road.
"The two rollovers were minutes and metres apart," he stated.
Luckily, neither mother nor daughter were injured in the rollovers, though the daughter was taken to seek medical treatment as a precaution.
Road conditions and speed were factors in both rollovers.
About two hours later, at 3 p.m., a 20-year-old male from Spalding was driving a 1997 Ford F-150 westbound on a grid road north-east of St. Gregor when he lost control and rolled into the north ditch.
He was the lone occupant of the vehicle and did not suffer any injuries.
"Road conditions and speed were factors," Ness stated.
This vehicle and most of the others involved in rollovers suffered extensive damage.
Finally, the last rollover occurred at 5:30 p.m. closer to Humboldt. A 25-year-old man from St. Brieux was northbound on the Mosely grid road about four miles north of Hwy. 5 when he lost control of his 2005 Honda Civic and rolled into the east ditch.
Again, he was the lone occupant of the vehicle and suffered no injuries. And again, road conditions and speed were factors in the crash.
The grid roads in the area were very icy on February 14, Ness noted.
"They were absolute skating rinks," he stated.
The warming and cooling trends the weather has been following have made for icy road conditions for the past month, and it's unlikely that will change soon.
"If you plan to travel on grid roads, 50 km/h is a prudent speed," Ness advised.
When grid roads are in the best possible condition, 80 km/h is the speed limit, he noted, and with the road conditions no where near perfect right now, it's best to travel far under that limit.
"If you're going 80 or 90, you're going to end up upside down," he said.
The investigations into all five of these crashes are ongoing and charges are pending, Ness said.