First Major Snowfall of Season in Canada - Winter Driving Tips

Cars driving through the snowstorm on the road

The first major snowfall has arrived; affecting the majority of Canadian provinces. Terrible conditions led to snow-covered highways on the major highways across Canada; causing major traffic problems and accidents.

Winter storm & driving in the news - Across Canada:

According to The Weather Network, the Greater Toronto Area and Southwest Ontario has seen significant snowfall amounts, after a day of major traffic problems. The snow fell heaviest in the Windsor, Niagara and western Golden Horseshoe regions. Strong winds will make for cold temperatures and blowing snow as the storm moves east through Quebec to the Maritimes.

Ontario Provincial Police tweeted: 'OPP have responded to over 525 calls for service in the GTA and Central Region and have received over 2100 calls into the Comm. Centre' on Saturday December 14, 2013.

Many accidents reported across major highways, including a 20-vehicle accident on the QEW in Mississauga.

Are you prepared for winter driving? Let's find out.

Winter Safety Kit

Before getting in your car, be smart and prepared by having a well-stocked winter safety kit in the event of unforeseeable circumstances and emergencies in your car. It is vital to make sure you pack the necessary items and be prepared for an emergency should you be stuck in a snow storm or stranded somewhere off the road. And if you don’t have one, now is the perfect time to add this to your "to do" list for safe winter driving.

Clothing & Winter Driving

As the temperatures continue to drop, make sure you wear clothing appropriate for the conditions outside. Or always have extra clothes in your car. And do not forget to wear the appropriate footwear. And it is important to note, whatever clothing you choose to wear, it should not hinder your ability to drive your car and it should be comfortable.

Planning & Preparing Vehicle before Driving

To have a safe trip, try to plan your route ahead of time. If you are stuck somewhere, it is a good idea to know where the appropriate detours are should you need to use them. And remember to leave plenty of time to get to your destination and drive according to the condition of the roads. And don’t forget to get your vehicle ready for winter driving by:

  • Topping up your windshield washer fluid
  • Installing adequate wiper blades
  • Checking all of your lighting system on your vehicle for signalling and breaking
  • Servicing your breaks
  • Installing winter tires

If you haven't installed winter tires yet, now is the time! Plus, you may get a break on your car insurance rates - as some insurance companies offer discounts. And 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 the 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 have 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 are more than $1,000 call 911
  • Report your accident to the nearest collision reporting centre, if it is safe to do
  • Get the contact information of all of the drivers involved including name, address, insurance information, phone number, drivers licence and their 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 are able too
  • 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