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Pack a survival kit for winter driving

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

February 1, 2011 — Officials are warning drivers to slow down and be prepared for sudden changes when a winter storm blasts through.

Snow squalls can lead to sudden reduced visibility
Snow squalls can lead to sudden reduced visibility

There's still half of the winter season left and several areas have already experienced heavy snow and slippery roads. While most city crews are prepared for what could be a colder and snowier winter than last year, drivers are encouraged to do the same.

Installing snow tires and getting your car in shape for winter is crucial, but officials say it is just as important to adjust your driving habits as the seasons change.

“As soon as the adverse weather starts it's important for us to number one, slow down...We need traction and visibility and the way to get traction in poor weather is to slow down,” says Joe Sears with Drive Wise.

Authorities in Ontario say they've witnessed preventable collisions during the last few major snow storms.

“We've seen instances of drivers speeding by the scenes of collisions, motorists driving on closed roadways, motorist passing fully marked cruisers as they travel to people in need of assistance and transport trucks loaded with cargo driving highway speeds during blinding storms,” says Inspector Mark Wright with the Western Region Ontario Provincial Police.

Wright adds that drivers may be facing clear and sunny skies one moment and then shortly after there could be intense, blinding snow squalls. As a result, all motorists should have a winter kit packed in their vehicle.

Here's a list of what emergency officials recommend you have in your car at all times:

  • A cell phone and recharger
  • List of important phone numbers (family, doctors, towing companies)
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Booster cables
  • Road maps
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Blanket
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze
  • Sand or salt
  • A collapsible shovel

What will winter bring to your area? Find all the details in the Winter Outlook. You can also stay up-to-date on the weather in your area by heading to our Canadian Cities Index

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