Hitting the road in the Canadian Rockies any time of year requires preparation. Distances are great. Services can be limited in many areas.
But from early fall through late spring, snowstorms are regular occurrences. With shorter days and lower temperatures, things can get serious quickly. Never underestimate the power of weather in the mountains!
Here are some tips on safe winter driving in the mountains:
- Check the weather forecast at weather.gc.ca.
- Motorists should carry a winter emergency kit that includes shovel, flashlight, blanket, food and water and extra warm clothing.
- Plan to start early and complete your drive during daylight hours.
- Check Alberta 511 for updates on road conditions and be prepared for anything – conditions can change rapidly.
- If you’re in any way concerned about the conditions, don’t go.
- Watch out for black ice, especially on bridges and near water.
- The use of cruise control is not recommended.
- Fill your gas tank in town and bring extra windshield washer fluid.
- Snow tires or chains are required by law for travel on all roads except highway #1 and #16 between November 1 and March 31.
- Cell phone reception outside of townsites is unreliable.
For more information on the Icefields Parkway in winter, see this brochure from Parks Canada.