Safety travel on rural roads is the focus of SGI’s August Traffic Safety Spotlight, and to help kick off the event, SGI and STARS hosted a live demonstration of a STARS helicopter landing and taking off from a rural area east of Regina this morning.
There are more than 3,000 collisions on rural roads each, resulting in 514 injuries and 25 deaths on average each year. Because these crashes often happen far away from major centres, these are the kinds of calls air ambulance crews respond to.
“We’re just happy to partner with SGI on this” said Dave McKay STARS Critical Care Flight Paramedic and Director of Provincial Operations. “Anytime we you can be proactive and prevent fatalities, especially in rural Saskatchewan we’re always on board. On rural roads and gravel roads we see a lot of catastrophic accidents, mostly involving single vehicle rollovers, ejections, anytime we see that happens, usually the fatality rate will go up.”
McKay noted the advantages STARS have when attending a rural call, “We can actually land in a field right next to a patient, where as with ground ambulance it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
SGI provided a few tips when traveling on rural roads. When driving on gravel surfaces, deep and loose gravel can make it more difficult to steer around curves. When a gravel road is dry, the resulting dust may cause visibility issues. Drivers should give themselves some space between other vehicles, you should be leaving a six second following distance between other vehicles. They also ask to only pass when necessary and safe to do so and to stay on the beaten path.
Drivers should also keep their eyes on the road since they may encounter railway crossings, crossroads, t-intersections, farm entrances, wildlife, livestock, and farm vehicles, which all require attention.
As always, motorists should buckle up their seatbelts and never drive impaired.