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Slow down on winter roads
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Car accident rates were up significantly as the first of the winter snows hit the Region hard. The police and municipalities were hard at work warning drivers to slow down, drive to the conditions, and to drive carefully. It seems not everyone was listening.

Many of the Region's roads, and Highway 7 to Stratford were plagued with slow traffic due to fender bender accidents. The 401 was narrowed at several points as well due to jack knifed tractor trailers and car accidents. Police attribute most of the accidents to people travelling too fast for the road conditions and following too closely. Winter is here, drivers need to slow down.

Drivers were advised of the usual cautions including not passing snow plows on the road. Snow plows have irregular movement patters as they swing in and out of lanes to avoid road signs, mailboxes etc. They also throw up a great deal of snow, are hard to see around, and are often spreading sand a gravel. They are impossible to see around safely. Often though, cars are seen trying to pass them.

The City of Guelph launched a Plow Tracker page on the website this season. This is a great move which will allow residents to see when roads are safer to travel on, and to know when their own roads are going to be plowed. It also allows residents to report problem spots on roads and sidewalks to the City. This would be nice in the Region. I imagine it will be coming soon.

It seems from all forecasts that the winter will be a ‘classic’ snowy one, and the long-term forecast holds temperatures below 0’C for the foreseeable future.  Please, allow yourself the extra time you’ll need to get where you are going safely. There’s no point in becoming impatient about travelling slowly. You’ll get to your destination safely.

If you find yourself driving in deep snow here are some ideas to consider.

Tips for driving in the snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Drive slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
  • Know your brakes.
  • Don't stop if you can avoid it.
  • Don't power up hills.
  • Don't stop going up a hill.
  • Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside it. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently.
  • The road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it.
  • When you are driving behind a snow plow, don’t follow or stop too closely. A snow plow operator’s field-of-vision is limited; if you can’t see the mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Also, materials used to de-ice the road could hit your vehicle. 
  • Snow plows can throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Never drive into a snow cloud – it can conceal vehicles or hazards.
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 - 10:09:00 AM EST
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