ORILLIA, ON, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - With a winter storm forecast for Southern Ontario, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are issuing an important reminder that driving conditions could rapidly and unexpectedly change, creating dangerous hazards and challenges for drivers.

The (OPP) is reminding motorists to check weather and road reports before they leave and to avoid unnecessary travel.

Allow extra time when travelling to and from destinations in winter and slow down. Travel below the posted limit and leave ample space between vehicles. Always assume road conditions will be slippery in winter.

In general, drivers who find themselves stranded with their vehicle on a highway in winter should stay with their vehicle and await rescue.  Use a cell phone to contact a tow truck or the police at 911.  Any decision to leave the vehicle should be taken very carefully after considering all options. Nearby gas stations or homes may provide some shelter, but travelling even short distances in a snow storm by foot can be extremely dangerous.

The OPP is reminding the motorists and the public not to call the OPP for road conditions, but to call the Ministry of Transportation at 1-800-268-4686 or visit www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/conditions.

Tips on preparing yourself and your vehicle for safe winter driving

  • Check the current weather conditions and the forecast and monitor the media for weather and road conditions.

  • Dress for winter even though you will be in your car. Then you will be prepared if you become stranded.

  • Carry a cell phone to contact emergency services if you experience trouble.

  • Carry a survival kit in your vehicle. For a description of a winter driving survival kit visit: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/winterdrive/winterdrive.shtml. Recommended items include a shovel, blanket, booster cables, flashlight, high energy foods, matches and a candle.

  • Ensure your vehicle is mechanically safe and sound.

  • Put winter tires on your vehicle.

  • Make sure your heater and defroster is working properly.

  • Check all your lights to ensure they are working including your hazards.

  • Make sure your windows are ALL clear of ice and snow.

  • Ensure your wiper blades are in good working condition.

  • Fill up your windshield fluid and make sure it's working properly.

  • Have an ice scraper or snow brush in your vehicle to clear the snow and ice from all windows, mirrors, lights and roof.

  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full so that you don't run out of gas if stranded, and to prevent condensation in your fuel tank.

  • Lastly, have your vehicle fully serviced to avoid unnecessary breakdowns.

Ontario's winters can make for some of the most challenging winter driving in Canada, and the OPP is reminding Ontarians that these important safety tips will go a long way in ensuring that you make it through winter safely.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information:

  Contacts by OPP Region:  
Highway Safety Division:      Sergeant Dave Woodford      Phone: (416) 553-5471
Central Region: Constable Peter Leon Phone: (705) 329-7414
Eastern Region: Sergeant Kristine Rae Phone: (613) 284-4557
Northeast Region: Inspector Mark Andrews Phone: (705) 471-0704
Northwest Region: Sergeant Shelley Garr Phone: (807) 473-2734
Western Region: Sergeant Dave Rektor Phone: (519) 652-4156


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