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Motorists slip and slide on black ice


A truck lands in a ditch after skidding on black ice near Milton on Friday.
A truck lands in a ditch after skidding on black ice near Milton on Friday.

Jill Colton, staff writer

December 11, 2010 — Several accidents were reported in Milton on Friday as a result of hazardous road conditions.

Emergency workers were out in full force helping motorists.
Emergency workers were out in full force helping motorists.

Emergency services were busy helping out motorists across Milton on Friday after a number of accidents occurred because of black ice.

According to the duty desk officer at Division 12 (Halton Regional Police Service), “the combination of higher than normal speeds and treacherous roads resulted in several vehicle mishaps.”

Friday's weather conditions appear to have created the perfect storm for collisions. “A light dusting took place in the morning, with warmer conditions settling in during the afternoon. Then it got much colder in the evening leaving a thin layer of ice.”

The accidents continued throughout the evening hours. A truck flipped over into a ditch when it skidded on black ice near Milton. No fatalities were reported, but several people suffered minor injuries in two of the accidents.

It was a similar situation on Wednesday, when a multi-vehicle crash halted traffic near Woodstock.

Brian Dillon is a meteorologist at The Weather Network. He explains how black ice forms. “Basically moisture on the ground freezes because of the colder air. This then filters around the pavement (like glazing) and adds a thin coat of ice to the ground.”

Black ice can be especially dangerous for drivers. Due to its clear composition it can be virtually undetectable. “It's called black ice because the black asphalt camouflages it.”

Police are encouraging drivers to slow down and leave a greater distance between vehicles.
Police are encouraging drivers to slow down and leave a greater distance between vehicles.

The best way to prevent your vehicle from sliding on this potentially hazardous surface is to adjust your driving habits. Police suggest motorists slow down, take their time and leave a greater distance between vehicles. This especially rings true with the impending winter storm that's expected to bring snow to parts of Ontario and Quebec on Sunday.

“Conditions change throughout this region instantly. They can be sunny and clear one moment, and the next moment there could be very intense, blinding snow squalls, so in this part of Ontario you really have to use extreme caution when driving,” notes Sergeant Dave Rektor, with the Ontario Provincial Police.

Winter car maintenance is crucial as well. Joe Sears of Drive Wise says, “You want to have winter tires, you want to check your tire pressure, windshield wipers are they the winter ones and are they in good shape? And have you got some extra windshield washer fluid?”

Before you leave your house, make sure to check out the highway conditions.

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