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Prepare for Hazardous Driving Conditions
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With a winter storm watch being upgraded to a winter storm warning, and the potential for heavy snow and blowing snow, Environment Canada is advising motorists to be prepared for hazardous driving conditions tonight into Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Significant snow and blowing snow is forecasted for Wednesday along with the possibility of rain, wet snow or freezing rain.

Drivers are asked to check the weather and road conditions before heading out on a trip or to work. Just two weeks ago our area was hit with a fast moving storm which caused havoc on our roads and highways. In a one-hour period Elgin County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) investigated 17 collisions, most of which involved multiple vehicles. What was the cause of these collisions? It was driving too fast for the road conditions. When we say too fast for conditions we are not referring to exceeding the speed limit; we are referring to driving at a speed which will allow you to stay in control of your vehicle. This may mean driving 20km/hr in an 80km/hr zone.

Stay alert, slow down, and stay in control - the three key elements of safe winter driving. Drive according to highway and weather conditions. Maintain a safe following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to avoid situations where you may have to brake suddenly.

Be Prepared Before Heading Out

  • Wear comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict your movement while at the wheel. Keep warm clothing for getting out of your vehicle.
  • If you are travelling a long distance, plan your route ahead of time. Let someone know of your destination and expected time of arrival.
  • Check weather and road conditions before heading out. You may need to allow yourself extra time for travel, or wait until conditions improve. Checking weather websites for local/regional forecasts and radar images will assist you with your travel decisions. Additional information is available at the ministry's Traveller Information Service website at: www.ontario.ca/511
  • You can also call the Ministry of Transportation province-wide Traveller Information Service at 511 for provincial highway information. Highway conditions are updated regularly. Please do not call police for road or weather conditions. This ties up valuable resources designated for emergencies.
  • If you experience car trouble, we recommend that you stay in your vehicle to avoid personal injury.
  • It is dangerous to stop on the shoulder of a 400-series highway and this should only be done in an emergency. If you must stop, drive onto the shoulder. In non-emergency situations, exit the highway at an interchange or at the nearest service centre.
  • On any other roadway, drivers must be off the road, not impeding traffic, and lawfully parked to use cell phones or other hand-held devices.
  • Winter Driving Information: 1-800-268-4686
  • Road Conditions

Winter Driving Survival Kit

It's a good idea to keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Having essential supplies can provide comfort and safety for you and your passengers should you become stranded.

Recommended items include:

  • • Ice scraper/snowbrush
  • • Shovel
  • • Sand or other traction aid
  • • Tow rope or chain
  • • Booster cables
  • • Road flares or warning lights
  • • Fuel line antifreeze
  • • Flashlight and batteries
  • • First aid kit
  • • Fire extinguisher
  • • Small tool kit
  • • Extra clothing and footwear
  • • Blanket
  • • Non-perishable energy foods – e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water
  • • Candle
  • • Matches or lighter

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