With winter fast approaching, there’s lots drivers can do to prepare themselves this season.
Last year, the number of collisions on Ontario roads between Dec. 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 climbed to 33,334 from 25,953 the year before, according to the OPP. Some of the accidents include cases where OPP officers were struck after responding to scene of a collision and it’s important that drivers know how to react to sirens from emergency vehicles.
The most common factor of many of these collisions is a driver’s bad winter driving habits rather than bad road conditions or bad weather, says the OPP.
“During the winter months, the way people drive needs to be very different than the way they drive the rest of year,” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support, in a press release.
“If every driver makes this critical change this winter, we will not have another chaotic winter that ends with a staggering number of collisions and the associated injuries and deaths.”
If bad weather hits and affects road conditions, it’s in your best interest to avoid travelling if you don’t need to. If you are out on the roads, adapt your speed to current road conditions and visibility and leave extra room between vehicles to give yourself more time to stop. Drivers should follow road speeds on signs during good weather conditions, but if you continue to drive at those speeds during bad weather, you can be charged, according to Global News.
Also, drivers need to make sure they turn on their headlights, especially during the winter months. Having the headlights on also allows drivers to see your rear lights, which notifies them of your vehicle’s location and reduces the chance of being involved in an accident.
Winter tires will also go a long way in preventing accidents. When the temperature drops below seven degrees, summer and all-season tires lose their traction. The stopping distance between winter tires and all-season tires is about 30 to 40 per cent less, which can make a huge difference in whether you’re involved in a collision or not, according to the Globe and Mail.
Before heading out, drivers should check the MTO’s Ontario 511 Traveller Information Services for any information about road conditions and road closures. There’s also a hands-free service available that can be accessed through voice activation.
Since you can’t predict any unexpected car trouble or accidents where you may be stuck in your vehicle, keep a survival kit in your vehicle. Some items you should keep in this kit are: warm winter outerwear (gloves, hat, boots), blanket or extra clothing, a small shovel, a snow brush/ice scraper, windshield washer fluid and extra food and water.
If cycling will be your main mode of transportation this winter, ride cautiously to safely reach your destination. Also, if you happen to spot a vehicle involved in an accident, sometimes it’s safer to stay in your vehicle and call it in since you’re putting yourself in danger when exiting your vehicle during bad weather conditions with low visibility.
Regardless of how safely you drive, motor vehicle accidents can still occur and anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision, no matter your role in the incident, can receive accident benefits. The personal injury and accident lawyers at Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers have been dealing with all accident related issues throughout Ontario for over 45 years. We know how to get you the compensation that you deserve and get your life back in order after being in a car accident. Call us at 416-920-4242, set up a free consultation, and come speak with us.
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