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February 27, 2014: The Elgin County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reporting dangerous driving conditions and multiple collisions acoss the county and along Highway 401. With the snow and gusting winds, it is creating blizzard like conditions with very poor visibility and driving conditions.

Police are urging motorists to stay off the roadways unless needed for an emergency purpose. If you get stuck or stranded, don't panic. Stay in your vehicle for safety and warmth. Ensure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow. If you are in an area with cell phone service and have a cell phone, call for help. Remember, dialing 911 on your cell phone will connect you with the emergency services contact centre in the area. Please use 1-888-310-1122 for non-emergencies.

Drivers Not Changing Their Behaviour

In spite of issuing a stern warning last week, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) once again responded to a series of multi-vehicle collisions yesterday along Ontario highways, and again today.

Dozens of crashes involving hundreds of motor vehicles, including numerous tractor trailers, occurred in various parts of southern Ontario. The worst crash scene was in the westbound lanes of Highway 401 near Napanee where there were an approximate 150 vehicles, including 15 tractor trailers involved. The collisions occurred during poor weather conditions and reduced visibility.

"We are frustrated that, one week after issuing an important warning, motorists are failing to change their driving behaviour and adjust their driving to the conditions. Yesterday's storm was forecasted by meteorologists and gave motorists ample time to prepare or make alternative plans where non-essential travel was involved, so there is no valid excuse for the mayhem and the resulting injuries we saw on our highways and roads again yesterday," said acting OPP Commissioner Brad Blair.

Once again Blair is urging motorists to maintain full control of their vehicles at all times, which means slowing right down and allowing extra space between vehicles. For visibility, motorists are urged to use full headlights in challenging conditions. According to Blair, the OPP observed many drivers failing to take these critical measures and this contributed to the majority of yesterday's collisions.

The collisions included numerous commercial motor vehicles and, while the OPP acknowledges that many drivers of these large vehicles are driving with care, officers continue to observe a number of them who do not slow down and leave ample space and stopping distance. The OPP is asking motorists to report these offenders to police.

Ontarians are incurring significant property damage and personal injury costs, and other direct costs for business and industry due to the unacceptably high volume of collisions so far this winter season. Irresponsible driving cannot continue throughout the winter, said Blair.

The OPP hopes its education efforts and public appeals will lead to immediate changes in driver behaviour and prevent emergency responders from being called to countless collision scenes.

Motorists are encouraged to visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) website at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca for traveller's information such as winder road conditions, construction reports, road closures, traffic reports, traffic cameras and interactive mapping.

OPP Contact Information

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