CAA North & East Ontario
Ottawa - It might seem as though the official start of the winter season is still a bit away, but with snow and ice having already made appearances in parts of the province many drivers are again experiencing the hazards of winter driving. CAA North & East Ontario (CAANEO) would like to remind motorists that extra caution is needed as the winter weather appears, offering some tips to help ensure safety for all while on the road.
"Appreciating that winter driving can be extremely precarious at times, coupled with the fact that the safety of all motorists is of paramount concern to CAANEO, the Club encourages motorists to plan ahead and drive defensively," said Korey Kennedy, CAANEO's Manager of Public and Government Affairs. "Whether you're on a holiday road trip or the daily commute to work, or driving the kids to music lessons or hockey practice, motorists must ensure that their vehicles are winter-ready and that they adjust their driving habits to reflect the change in the weather."
The safest strategy is to avoid driving in bad winter weather, but if you must head out be sure to check conditions before you leave and provide yourself with extra time to reach your destination. A main cause of vehicle collisions on Ontario roadways during the winter months is from motorists who fail to adjust their driving to be appropriate for the weather and road conditions.
The following are a few tips from CAANEO for motorists to keep in mind this winter:
- Clear off all snow from your vehicle's hood, roof, lights and windows.
- Make sure you have enough fuel, having your tank at least half full when you head out.
- Be aware of the hazard of black ice in temperatures between +4Â°C and -4Â°C, where the road surface looks black and shiny.
- Leave sufficient braking room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- For longer driving distances, notify someone of your intended destination and anticipated arrival time.
- Fill up with a windshield washer fluid in the -40Â°C range and be sure to carry an extra jug in your vehicle.
- Do not use overdrive or cruise control in poor weather.
- When approaching the blue flashing light of a snowplow from behind, slow down and stay back. DO NOT pass a snowplow. When approaching a plow from the opposite direction, move as far away from the centerline as is safely possible.
- If you become stuck or stranded, do not panic. Stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth and wait for help to arrive. If you have a cell phone with you and are in an area with service, call for help. Take care if you attempt to free your vehicle by dressing warmly, shovelling slowly and making sure to not overexert yourself.
CAANEO recommends putting the following items in your vehicle to help prepare you for the unexpected: shovel, flashlight, first aid kit, blanket, booster cables, ice scraper and brush, matches and a 'survival' candle placed in a deep can, winter gloves, and an emergency food pack.
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