OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 22, 2011) - As the temperature continues to drop, it's time to realize what most of us dread hearing: winter is nearing closer and with it comes treacherous driving conditions. CAA North & East Ontario (CAANEO) reminds motorists that extra care on roadways is needed as ice and snow make an appearance, and offers some tips to help ensure safety for all while on the road.

While the safest strategy is to avoid driving in hazardous winter weather, if you must head out be sure to check the forecast before you leave and provide yourself with extra time to reach your destination. A main cause of vehicle collisions on Ontario roadways during the winter months is from motorists who fail to adjust their driving habits for the weather and road conditions.

"Whether you're on a holiday road trip or just the daily commute to work, all drivers need to take the time to ensure that their vehicles are winter ready and that they adjust their driving habits to reflect the change in weather conditions," said Korey Kennedy, CAANEO's Manager of Public and Government Affairs. "The safety of all road users is of vital concern to CAANEO, and the Club urges motorists to plan ahead and drive defensively this season."

The following are a few tips from CAANEO for motorists to keep in mind this winter:

  • Before heading out, clear off all snow and ice from your vehicle's hood, roof, lights and windows.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel; having your tank at least half full when you leave is optimal.
  • Leave sufficient braking room between you and other vehicles.
  • When travelling for longer distances, notify someone of your intended destination and anticipated arrival time.
  • Do not use overdrive or cruise control in poor weather.
  • Be cautious of the hazard of black ice in temperatures between +4°C and -4°C, particularly when travelling along shaded parts of roadway, bridges and overpasses.
  • When approaching the blue flashing light of a snowplow from behind, slow down and stay back. DO NOT pass a snowplow. When approaching a plow from the opposite direction, move as far away from the centreline as is safely possible.
  • Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle containing the following items to help you prepare for the unexpected: shovel, flashlight, first aid kit, blanket, booster cables, ice scraper and brush, matches and a "survival" candle placed in a deep can, winter gloves, an emergency food pack, and a fully charged cell phone.

If you ever become stuck or stranded, do not panic and make every effort to keep your passengers calm. Always stay with your vehicle for safety and warmth and wait for help to arrive. If you do attempt to free your vehicle, take care by dressing warmly, shovelling slowly and making sure to not overexert yourself.

For more than 100 years, the Canadian Automobile Association has provided travel, emergency road services, insurance and advocacy for its Members.

Contact Information:

Erin Kelly
Communications Specialist
CAA North & East Ontario
Cell: 613-290-3648