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How summer heat affects driving


August is the month when driving incidents rise
August is the month when driving incidents rise

Beverley Ann D'Cruz, staff writer

August 18, 2010 — The stifling heat and muggy weather have made driving conditions a challenge in Southern Ontario.

O.P.P. Chief Supt.Bill Grodzinski says weather affects driving
O.P.P. Chief Supt.Bill Grodzinski says weather affects driving

Southern Ontario has been no stranger to hot and humid conditions this summer.

Already, there have been 18 days when temperatures have climbed to 30°C or higher. This is a large contrast to the summer of 2009, when only three days like that were recorded. And the humidity has made it feel even warmer than it is. This past weekend, a humidex advisory was in place for Windsor, Chatham and Essex County. On Sunday, the advisory was expanded to a majority of the region, including the GTA.

While it cooled off early this week, the stickiness will be back on Thursday. This common trend of heat and muggy conditions has certainly proved to be a challenge for the Ontario Provincial Police in the past few weeks. In fact, the increase in traffic and warm conditions during August always makes it a busy month for the O.P.P. as the number of car crashes rises.

“Certainly what you have seen in the past few weeks, throughout August and much of July, is inordinately high temperatures, lots of humidity and there is no doubt in our mind that has contributed to the increase of fatalities we have seen not only on the highways but on the waterways,” says O.P.P. Chief Supt. Bill Grodzinski.

NFL fans might have trouble getting downtown for the game tomorrow
NFL fans might have trouble getting downtown for the game tomorrow

Grodzinski says the weather and people looking forward to where they are going often makes them compromise on the most important aspect-– getting to the location safely. The situation is likely to be the same for the upcoming Labour Day weekend when many people will be heading to the cottage or lake for one last time before summer ends.

Grodzinski explains how driving skills are affected. “Particularly for those who don’t enjoy air-conditioning, you don’t sleep as well when the heat is like this. Not just one or two nights of not having a good night’s sleep, but weeks on end. And you can see it out on the roads, the frustration levels are little higher, people are driving a little aggressively. And all that it takes a single mistake and ultimately it is not a bent fender or two. But if you are not wearing your seatbelt and make a little mistake, it could cost you your life.”

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