As it turns out, above-seasonal temperatures in December do have their drawbacks.

Officers reported an increased number of collisions on provincial highways this past weekend due to above-seasonal temperatures and a Friday night storm. Sgt. Paul Manaigre, the media relations officer with Manitoba RCMP, told PortageOnline that between Friday morning and Monday morning, the RCMP responded to 80 collisions on provincial highways, seven of which occurred on the Central Plains.

Tragically, 1 of those 80 collisions was fatal: a rollover near Falcon Lake on Sunday. Manaigre says the RCMP would like to see these statistics come down.

"We're not going to be immune to collisions any weekend, but that number (80) was significantly higher than our average, which we'll see anywhere from 10 to 20 to 30 collisions on a typical weekend."

Manaigre explains that the RCMP believes the uptick is due to snow melting on highways from the warm weather, with that moisture from the snow glazing the roads before freezing overnight, a freeze-thaw cycle that he says makes driving conditions treacherous.

"All of these accidents are attributable to road conditions," he continues. "Our populations are growing everywhere, so that just means there are more people in the area. There are more vehicles. So, the volumes are up. In ideal conditions, you can drive to the speed limit, as long as you give yourself some time and distance, and you can normally react to what occurs in front of you or to road conditions. But now, you throw in some factors of ice and snow at nighttime, plus the visibility might change; you just have to adjust your driving style."

Manaigre notes that motorists should watch their speed and brake earlier than usual, be aware of their surroundings, and use winter tires to be as safe as possible when driving on highways this winter.

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