A 69-year-old male truck driver died in Fort St. John Hospital from injuries sustained in a single vehicle accident on Cecil Lake Road near the Beatton River Bridge.
Members of the Fort St. John RCMP and North Peace Traffic Services arrived on the scene to find a commercial truck in a ditch.
EHS, RCMP and the fire department extracted the man from his vehicle. He was taken to the hospital in serious condition for medical treatment where he later died.
Cecil Lake Road was closed in both directions throughout the day as members of the Fort St. John RCMP and North Peace Traffic Services were on scene conducting their investigation.
Jodi Shelkie, the Fort St. John RCMP’s spokesperson, says that members of the public should take news of this latest tragedy as a moment to reflect on their own driving habits and to consider what they could be doing to be better, safer drivers.
“Something that I think a lot of people don’t understand is that when the speed limits are set by road engineers, they’re set for a clear day in summer,” Shelkie said.
Shelkie says that all drivers should slow down under snow and ice conditions, particularly those with less driving experience or vehicles unsuited for winter driving.
“If you’re driving a light vehicle or you have all-season tires instead of winter tires you need to slow down even more.”
Drivers of light vehicles or trucks with rear wheel drive can add weight to their vehicle to keep it from sliding out on slippery roads. One often-used approach is to put sandbags in a vehicle’s trunk.
Shelkie recommends that drivers invest in a set of winter tires and always pack emergency equipment in case of an accident.
“Be prepared with emergency equipment in case you go into a ditch and need to keep warm for a little while until somebody comes to help you out,” Shelkie said.
Another item to keep on hand while driving is a charged cell phone.
“We are currently dealing with the issue of blowing snow in the Peace, which at times impairs visibility,” said Heidi Postnikoff, area manager with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, adding that drivers should be especially cautious in low light conditions, make sure their headlights are on and that they are maintaining a safe driving distance.
Drive BC, a website and toll-free phone service operated by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, is a useful and often updated tool where drivers can find information on the current road conditions.
Tips for driving in winter conditions can be also be found on the Drive BC website.
“Basically, people need to realize that they are not going to get where they are going in the same amount of time that they did in the summer. If you’re heading somewhere now give yourself a lot of extra time and plan accordingly,” Shelkie said.