While the varied landscape of our province means we can enjoy everything from badlands and forests to prairies and mountain views, it also means that driving across it can be dangerous. Whether you’re near northeast Calgary and battling giant hailstones, struggling in a blizzard in the Crowsnest Pass, or navigating the steep grades of an eastern river valley, here are some of the most dangerous routes a driver can take in Alberta.
1. Highway 9, near Chestermere to Beiseker
This single-lane, winding stretch of highway has a reputation for being dangerous in all seasons – thanks to factors like high winds and drifting snow in the winter, and excessive speed and poor road markings in the warmer months. Many of the S curves have proven fatal, as low visibility of the road ahead, even in broad daylight, contributes to collisions and accidents. If you are traveling on this stretch, always keep an eye out for oncoming cars and play it safe!
2. Highway 1, Banff to the BC border
While the twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway has helped, the popularity of the route with travelers and truckers alike means that there is often plenty of traffic to work around. This can be difficult in the best conditions, but when combined with steep mountain roads, sudden snowfall or rain, unpredictable wildlife on the road, and the impatience of holiday drivers, it can become a deadly combination.
Be especially careful on the offshoots of Highway 93, which are not always twinned as they head further into the mountains. Also, just across the border is the infamous approach to Golden, which is well-known for avalanches, rockslides, blizzards, and other delays.
3. Highway 2 (Especially in the Winter)
A mainstay of provincial travel, Highway 2 runs from the American border all the way north to Edmonton before jutting west toward Grande Prairie. While it’s a relatively relaxing ride in the sunny summer months with good weather, many of the long, flat stretches through open prairie are subject to intense windstorms, hail, and blizzards in the winter. It’s not uncommon for tractor-trailers to blow over near Airdrie or Nanton, or for others to pull over and wait for monstrous hailstorms to pass in the long southern sections. Be prepared with an emergency kit if you’re traveling between distant points here!
4. Deerfoot Trail & 16 Ave NE in Calgary
The place where the Trans-Canada and trans-Alberta Highways meet sees so many accidents that it has appeared second on a list of the most dangerous intersections in Canada. Hills on both sides, huge amounts of car traffic, unpredictable weather, and signage that can be confusing to visitors all contribute to this reputation.
5. Highway 63, north of Edmonton towards Ft McMurray
At just over 400 km long, this particular length of highway runs through much of northeast Alberta, connecting the Athabasca oilsands and its communities to Edmonton and the rest of Canada. It has earned the unfortunate nickname of the “Highway of Death” due to the sheer number of accidents that occur on it, and even though twinning a portion has helped somewhat, it is still considered one of the most dangerous routes in the entire province.
It is the only road leading out of Fort McMurray, and delays such as those caused by large oilfield equipment can cause major issues on high-volume traffic days. Our recommendation? Be prepared to slow down and keep an eye out for anything on the road ahead, especially in the colder months!
Do you know of any roadways around Calgary or Alberta that you think are dangerous? Are you familiar with the roads that any careful trucker should avoid? (Should we write about Highway 44 near Westlock, or Highway 3 near Fort Macleod?) Here at West Tech Mobile, we’re always trying to help out our brothers and sisters in the heavy industries, whether it is with heavy truck repair or not, so let us know and we’ll spread the word!