A blizzard warning has been issued by Environment Canada for Weyburn and southeastern Saskatchewan. Conditions will likely deteriorate rapidly on the highways this weekend, bringing strong winds and significant snow fall.
Tyler McMurchy, spokesperson with SGI, said that when travel not recommended warnings are issued, they are put there for a reason because driving conditions are unsafe.
"We do strongly, strongly recommend that drivers not put themselves in a position where they are driving somewhere where travel is not recommended, and certainly not driving on roads that are closed because not only are you putting yourself at risk, you're also putting others at risk."
McMurchy explained that drivers also put first responders, tow truck drivers and other roadside responders in an unsafe position when they take to the road in unsafe conditions.
If you do find yourself driving on the highway, unaware that the highway has been closed, with reduced visibility and sizeable snow drifts, McMurchy advised to pull over and remain inside your vehicle.
"It will offer you protection from the winter elements. It's recommended that you run your engine sporadically so you can get some heat, you don't want to run out of gas. Hopefully you are driving with at least half a tank of gas or more."
He explained that it's always good to have your vehicle stocked with an emergency kit, extra blankets, candles and matches. You can use the candles for heat and to melt snow for drinking water.
"Make sure that when you are running your engine, that your vehicle's exhaust pipe is clear of snow and ice," he said, "because if it's plugged, those fumes may seep into your vehicle and that is obviously an unhealthy situation for anybody who is not capable of breathing in carbon monoxide, which is all of us."
If people are driving on the highway and they see an emergency vehicle, (police vehicle, fire truck or ambulance), stopped on the side of the road providing assistance, a tow truck providing assistance or a snowplow pulled over, McMurchy explained, "You need to slow to 60 km/hr as you're passing by, because if you don't, you're putting the people who are on the side of the road at risk and the people that they're assisting at risk."
He added that it's an expensive fine as well for failing to do so.
McMurchy also reminded drivers that speed limits are posted for ideal road conditions.
"When we're talking about the kind of weather that we may be getting over the next couple of days, there's a very good chance that we will not be seeing ideal driving conditions in many parts of the province."
Therefore, he said that drivers need to slow down, and respect the fact that your vehicle will not handle the same way when the driving conditions are compromised by snow, ice and reduced visibility.
McMurchy added to listen to the radio, check the forecast and the Highway Hotline before heading out, to stay up-to-date with the latest road conditions and highway closures.
"If the road conditions sound like they're going to be nasty, make other plans. In weather that is winter driving conditions but not necessarily roads where travel isn't recommended, give yourself extra time to get to where you're going, making sure that you can see and be seen by cleaning off your vehicle before you leave."
You can check road reports and cancellations here.