This Could Save Your Life: Tackle Winter Conditions On The Road

Icy conditions, snow, high winds, and cold temperatures -- typical of Canadian winters -- means getting a grip on safe winter driving.
“More than one-third of traffic collisions occur at the beginning of the winter season,” said Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield. “Smart drivers need to be prepared. Going the extra mile to adjust your driving and winterize your car could save your life or the lives of others.”
To help ensure a safer drive this winter, the Ministry of Transportation offers several tips to help tackle winter conditions:

  • Get your vehicle ready for winter with a maintenance check-up.
  • Before starting your trip, clean all snow and ice from your vehicle, particularly from your headlights and taillights.
  • Pay attention: focus on the task of driving.
  • When driving near snow removal equipment -- slow down and don’t follow too closely.
  • Adjust your driving to weather and road conditions.
  • Be aware of black ice, which occurs more often in shaded areas -- you can’t always see it.
  • Avoid sudden driving manoeuvres like accelerating, abrupt corrections and sudden braking.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and highway overpasses, which freeze more quickly and remain frozen longer than the adjacent roadway.
  • Increase your vehicle’s visibility by turning on your headlights and taillights.
  • When the road is slippery, turn off your cruise control system; snow, ice, slush and even rain can cause wheel-spin and loss of control.
  • Keep your windshield fluid topped up and your windshield clean.
  • Consider using winter tires or studded tires, where permitted by law.

“Don’t get caught unprepared by a storm,” said Brad McNulty, of CAA North & East Ontario said. “For the sake of yourself, your loved ones and everyone else on the road, get your vehicle ready for winter now. And when the weather’s bad, leave early, drive carefully and reach your destination safely.”
“Unexpected weather conditions demand better driving skills,” Cansfield concluded. “Preparing yourself ahead of your trip and adjusting your driving habits according to road and weather conditions is a smart way to go.”

The ministry’s Winter Driving brochure provides winter driving tips on how to deal with snow and ice on Ontario’s highways. It is available at Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Offices, through Publications Ontario, at Government Information Centres and on the ministry’s website.  Information for truck drivers on how to safely share the road with snow
plows is also available at Truck Inspection Stations, the Ontario Trucking Association and Government Information Centres.
For the most recent road conditions across Ontario, please call the Ministry of Transportation’s information line, toll-free at 1-800-268-4686, or dial 416-235-4686 if calling within the Greater Toronto Area.