KEYBOARD COMMANDO – Manmeet Bhullar’s death is a reminder, caution on roads is paramount

Last week, Alberta lost a rising political star – Manmeet Bhullar, 35, a PC MLA for Calgary.
His death is a reminder to all of us – slow down and drive even more defensively in winter conditions.
On Nov. 23, Bhullar was on Highway 2, driving to Edmonton. He stopped north of Red Deer to help several people in a vehicle crash.
According to a Calgary Herald report, a semi-truck lost control going down the Blind Man River hill and hit another vehicle before striking Bhullar.
Bhullar was rushed to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.
The Herald report continues, between 2008 and 2012, there were 867 collisions on the 91-kilometre part of Highway 2 that runs between Red Deer and Ponoka. Five of those collisions involved fatalities and another 170 involved injuries.
I know what that Highway 2 can be like in the winter. While returning from a hunting trip to Kananaskis Country in November 2012, I saw several collisions between Calgary and Edmonton.
The road was very slippery and it was snowing heavily. And yet, many other drivers were passing me, with no regard for the road conditions or the collisions that they must have seen for themselves.
It strikes me as very odd that people will not drive more defensively in the winter.
Even in the Smoky River region, it doesn’t take much to spin out of control and go into the ditch or collide with another vehicle if you overestimate your abilities and underestimate the conditions.
In less than two weeks, I will be going to Wainwright for a three-day deer hunt. It’s not the most ideal time to be travelling across the province for such a trip. But that’s the time I have to go, and I will plan my travel accordingly.
However, Bhuller’s death is a reminder to me that caution is warranted for driving long distances. He was a victim of a collision on Nov. 23, through no fault of his own.
One resource that all drivers should use is the 511 Alberta, which provides reports about road conditions throughout the province. The information can be found at, and there is also an app available for Android smartphones and the Apple iPhone. The service is also available on Twitter (@511Alberta).
Also, customize the weather app on your computer for local weather and/or road reports, and use media outlets like The Weather Network for up-to-the-minute coverage. Such tools can help you plan your trip or even postpone it for inclement weather.
But most of all, if you have to make long road trips during the winter, please – SLOW DOWN!
Be prepared to take longer to get to your destination if required. There’s no point in taking unnecessary risks with yourself, your passengers and the other drivers out there.
Thirty-one years of driving has taught one thing. Always be prepared for the unexpected and don’t overestimate your abilities, or you and others could face the consequences.

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