While we may get numb to it, but driving on the highways in the winter can be risky.

PortageOnline reached out to some locals as well as CAA Manitoba for insight about taking to the road. 

Ken Erickson, owner of Kitson's Service Station Ltd, says that in his years of operating a tow truck and vehicle repair company, he has seen many people in the ditch or in accidents due to having cruise control on or simply not driving cautiously enough.

A big issue Erikson shines a light on is drivers zooming by his employees on the side of the road while trying to do their job and give someone a tow.

"Anytime you see flashing lights or anybody on the side of the road, just give them a little space. Make sure you can see who's out there, and if you can move over and slow down, it's always a good idea." 

While people speeding by is a problem, Erickson says it is a problem he and his employees have to endure.

"It gets a little scary sometimes, but it's just part of the job."

Tyler, a dispatcher at Burbank Express, used to be a semi-truck driver and says that when on the road near a semi, you must ensure you are as visible as possible.

"When passing a semi, you want to do so quickly and efficiently. Of course, with safety in mind, you don't have to speed past the semi, but you want to do so as quickly as you safely can."

Tyler notes that he sees motorists either match the speed or are still too slow to pass the semi, which he says is very dangerous.

file photoTyler, a dispatcher at Burbank Express.

"Tires can blow anytime, or obstacles or animals can enter the roadway. So, you want to make sure that you're getting by a semi as quickly as you can, and then when you are past the semi, you want to make sure that you can see the truck in the rearview mirror before coming into that same lane again." 

CAA Manitoba provided some safe driving tips to PortageOnline: 

  • Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead. Stopping distances increase on ice and snow. 
  • Stay on the main roads. Back roads may not always be well-ploughed during winter storm events. 
  • Always keep a phone charger in your car. You can't call for help without a charged phone, and you will need battery power until help arrives. 
  • Avoid using overdrive or cruise control. You want as much focus and control of your vehicle as possible. 
  • Slow down and move over for emergency vehicles. This includes tow trucks and service vehicles. 
  • Never pass a snowplow. This could result in a severe, even fatal, collision. Stay well back when you see the flashing lights of a snowplough.