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Icy winter blast triples daily collision count: York police

VIDEO: There are some things you ought to know before taking to the roads, York Regional Police say
USED 20181117 wintry roads KC
File photo/NewmarketToday

Since yesterday, the icy and wintry blast that blew through York Region found the local force responding to about three times as many collisions as they would see on a normal day, York police Const. Laura Nicolle said.

“A normal day is about 10 to 20 accidents, and so far today, since the weather turned wintry about 25 (or so) hours ago, we’ve had 70,” Nicolle said earlier Monday. “It’s really significant.”

Winter driving is completely different, she added, and that’s why York Regional Police are reminding drivers to take added precautions in snow and icy weather.

“You get people who think they’ve got good vehicle, got the snow tires on, are an experienced driver so they’ll drive like they normally would about 20 kilometres over the limit, pass others and cut in the lanes, you can’t do that,” Nicolle said. “Speed limits are designed for ideal road conditions and what you see out there are not ideal road conditions at all. Everybody needs to be adjusting their speeds and slow down a reasonable amount.”

The flip side to that are drivers who are clearly not comfortable with winter driving, she added, and they put on their four-way lights and drive about 15 km/hr.

“That’s not overly positive for the roads either, you have to find a happy medium of slowing down and being more careful, but not to the point where you’re causing major traffic disruptions,” said Nicolle.

The local force says most of the collisions related to winter driving are avoidable. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind before heading out, courtesy of York police:

  • Always check the weather and travel conditions before heading out and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination 
  • Slow down, drive according to the weather conditions and ensure you have enough time and gas in your tank to get you to your destination.
  • Top up your windshield washer fluid and clear the snow and ice completely from your vehicle 
  • Always wear your seatbelt 
  • Avoid distractions 
  • Leave a large space between your vehicles and those in front or around you 
  • Plan for longer times and distances when braking at a stop sign or at intersection 

Call the police immediately if the collision involves any of the following: 

  • Someone who is hurt or in danger 
  • A driver you suspect has committed a crime, such as impaired driving 
  • A pedestrian or cyclist 
  • An uncooperative driver 
  • Damage to private property 
  • A government vehicle or a vehicle that is transporting dangerous goods 

If you are involved in a collision, remember to stay calm, York police say.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if anyone is hurt or in danger. Remain at the scene and ensure your vehicle is in a safe location. You may need to move your vehicle off the road to ensure your safety and that of other motorists. If you are able to do so safely, check on the well-being of anyone else involved. 

If the combined damage to vehicles is believed to be less than $2,000 and none of the above circumstances exist, you do not require a police report. 

Exchange drivers' licenses, ownership and insurance information with any other drivers involved and report the accident directly to your insurance company. 

For more information on reporting collisions, visit here.

Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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