Cold weather is about to settle in and CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO), Toronto Police Service (TPS), Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the City of Toronto want to know: are you winter ready?
This year, the five organizations have joined forces to help inform Ontarians that now is the time to get your winter tires installed, check your car battery and stock your car with an emergency kit with all the essentials needed for the winter months.
“We can’t always predict when and how much snow will fall but stocking up your vehicle ahead of time goes a long way in ensuring that no matter what weather conditions you encounter, you are prepared,” says Tony Tsai, Vice President of Corporate Communications & Services CAA SCO. “Staying safe while driving this season begins with proper winter vehicle maintenance before bad weather hits.”
TPS, OPP and MTO are also reinforcing the importance of driver behaviour.
“Motorists need to be aware and alert at all times when on the road, even in the most routine circumstances like driving to and from work,” says Police Constable Sean Shapiro, TPS. “That includes slowing down and driving according to weather conditions and ensuring you give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination”.
MTO recommends motorists download and use the 511 app to check the weather and road conditions before they leave home this winter. The 511 app can be found at 511on.ca or in the app store on your mobile device.
If you are experiencing a vehicle breakdown or were involved in a collision, OPP recommends to Steer It and Clear It if it’s safe to do so. Never stop on the roadway and if possible, park well off the road and stay inside your vehicle until rescuers arrive.
Motorists should also refer to some other less-practiced tips to help make your winter drive a safe one:
- Keep the gas tank at least half full at all times. Cold weather causes condensation in the system, which can lead to fuel-line freeze-up and can prevent your car from starting.
- Remove excess snow from the car before driving off. Any snow left on the roof might slide down onto the windshield and obstruct your vision.
- Keep your wiper fluid full. Keep extra fluid in your trunk. Make sure it’s rated for -40℃.
- Pack a fully stocked emergency kit. The kit should include a flashlight and extra batteries, warning devices (e.g., flares, reflective vests/strips), a first aid kit, blankets, jumper cables, non-perishable food and water plus a phone charger. Be sure to also keep an ice scraper, small shovel and snow brush handy in your car at all times.