It’s official; snow is in the forecast for most Canadian provinces. With the snow comes colder temperatures and wet weather conditions that can make driving across major highways extremely hazardous. Taking extra precautions when travelling on Canada’s icy roads can help keep you and those around you safe this winter season.
Snow, rain, and wind in the news
According to CP24, Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have seen a combination of snowfall and freezing rain that “could create hazardous travel conditions.”
Environment Canada also advises that wintry weather conditions are expected to continue as strong westerly winds develop and carry in to the GTA. Strong gusts of wind can cause loose objects like tree branches to obstruct your view while driving, so it’s best to always stay alert while driving under these weather conditions.
Are you prepared for winter driving? Let’s find out
Winter safety kit
Before getting in your car, be prepared for unforeseeable roadside emergencies with a well-stocked winter safety kit. It is vital to make sure you have the necessary items on hand (like a shovel and a headlamp) should you be stuck in a snowstorm or stranded somewhere off the road. And if you don’t have a kit, now is the perfect time to add one to your “safe winter driving” checklist.
Clothing and winter driving
As temperatures continue to drop, make sure you wear appropriate clothing for outdoor weather conditions — or always keep warm clothing in your car. Though it’s important to note, whatever clothing you choose to wear should not hinder your ability to drive your car.
Plan ahead and prepare your vehicle before driving
To have a safe trip, try to plan your route ahead of time. If you get stuck somewhere, it is good to know where the appropriate detours are — should you need to use them.
Remember to leave plenty of time to get to your destination and drive according to the road conditions. Don’t forget to get your vehicle ready for winter driving by:
- Topping up your windshield washer fluid
- Installing adequate wiper blades
- Checking your vehicle’s lighting system for functional signal and break lights
- Servicing your breaks
- Installing winter tires
If you haven’t installed winter tires yet, now is the time! You can get a winter tire discount of up to 5% on your car insurance rates in Ontario.
Additionally, before you leave for your destination, always remember to clear the ice and snow from your vehicle; pay special attention to your windows, lights, mirrors, hood, and roof.
What to do if you’re involved in a car accident
Winter driving can take a turn for the worst. In the event of a collision, here are some helpful tips to carry with you in your car:
- Pull to the side of the road when it is safe to do so.
- If anyone is injured or the damage to the vehicles involved appears to be more than $2,000, call 9-1-1.
- Report your accident to the nearest collision reporting centre if no one is injured and the total damage to all vehicles appears to be less than $2,000.
- Get the contact information of all of the drivers involved, including name, address, insurance information, phone number, driver’s licence, and licence plate number.
- Obtain the contact information of all witnesses, including their name, address, and telephone number.
- Write down any specifics of the accident to the best of your knowledge and take photos if you can.
- Report the accident to your insurance company or broker at your earliest convenience.
- Remember to stay calm.
- Do not accept any responsibility for the accident or try to pay for any damages.
- Use legitimate tow truck operators to remove your vehicle safely.
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