Drivers charged after driving on highways closed during weekend snow squalls

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The snow squalls that paralyzed midwestern Ontario over the weekend kept OPP very busy, and now they’re offering drivers some needed advice on winter driving after responding to more than 36 traffic calls and laying several charges.

According to a press release from South Bruce OPP, from 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 and 2:05 p.m. on Nov. 20, South Bruce OPP responded to a total of 36 traffic calls, in addition to other calls for assistance.

Police said the additional calls involved car crashes, cars stopped in live lanes of traffic, cars left on the shoulder of the road and cars in ditches.

According to Inspector Krista Miller, OPP officers responded to a two-vehicle crash and two calls for vehicles that skid into the ditch on a closed highway. Miller said the highway was closed for safety due to pockets of “zero visibility” that caused dangerous driving conditions.

The three drivers were charged with driving on a closed highway.

“The consequences could have been so much worse,” said Miller. “Road safety is a shared responsibility, please do your part.”

A road closed sign is seen in Bruce County during a snowstorm in December 2016. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

So what can drivers do to ensure they get to their destinations safely in the winter? Here is what OPP recommends:

  • Many wintertime crashes are caused by speeding in hazardous conditions, so “if you see snow — go slow”
  • Check weather and travel conditions before heading out, and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. If road conditions are too dangerous, postpone your trip
  • If caught in bad weather, tune into a local radio station for road closure updates
  • Carry a winter survival kit inside your car that contains extra clothing, winter boots, snacks, blankets, a candle and waterproof matches
  • Prepare your vehicle before travel by clearing snow and ice from the front, side, rear and top. The snow will blow off as you drive, but the mini snowstorm caused in the vehicle’s wake can be hazardous to drivers behind you

“Remember — an ordinary driver reacts to the changing road and weather conditions while a good driver anticipates problems before they occur,” OPP said. “Slow down and give everyone a chance to arrive safely at their destination.” 

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