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Highway fatalities up 17 per cent: MPI

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An RCMP officer tapes off an overturned vehicle in the ditch along the Perimeter Highway near Roblin Boulevard as winds pick up and visibility decreases Tuesday morning.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

An RCMP officer tapes off an overturned vehicle in the ditch along the Perimeter Highway near Roblin Boulevard as winds pick up and visibility decreases Tuesday morning. Photo Store

An increase in fatalities on provincial highways this winter has Manitoba Public Insurance reminding motorists to be careful out there.

MPI says that 87 per cent of all fatalities this winter (since Dec. 1) occurred on rural roads and highways, up 17 per cent on average in recent years. Thirteen people have been killed on Manitoba roads during December and January, with ice, heavy snow and severe weather conditions playing a significant role in most of those deaths.

"Drivers need to adjust just as quickly to stay safe," said MPI spokeswoman MaryAnn Kempe in a release. "Driving to road conditions could be a life-saving decision. More than ever, we’re asking motorists to exercise road safety. When there’s ice and snow, slow down. It could save a life."

MPI adds that approximately 40 per cent of collisions in Manitoba occur at intersections. In a highway environment, with higher speeds added to the driving experience, those accidents can often result in deaths.

"Many collisions are still due to motorists driving through stop signs and they often result in a death," said Insp. Joanne Keeping, RCMP Traffic Services. "These fatalities are preventable if safety at intersections is exercised."

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