London Police are reminding local motorists to brush up on safe winter driving habits a day after a wintry storm system dumped around 5 to 10 cm of snow in several areas of southwestern Ontario over the weekend.
According to London Police, officers were called to roughly 15 collisions on Sunday between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. as snow squalls passed through the region.
“You must remember that you need to provide an extra buffer or a greater distance to stop safely,” said Sgt. Amanda Pfeffer with the London Police’s Traffic Management Unit. “It’s also important because we have our school buses back on the roads.”
Drivers must stop when school bus lights and stop arms are activated, Pfeffer said.
“It’s very important to ensure that you have your headlights activated on your vehicle so you can be seen by pedestrians,” Pfeffer said. “Headlights are important for two reasons: in order for you to see, and in order for you to be seen in your vehicle.”
Pfeffer said while police ask that drivers stay off the roads in hazardous conditions, they concede it’s not always possible in some circumstances.
“Ensure that your vehicle is ready for these winter driving conditions, and that, in the event of an emergency, you are prepared, (that) you have a safety blanket, candles, a flare perhaps, and certainly winter tires (are) very important, as is layering your clothing.”
The safety reminder comes on the heels of new road rules that went into effect on New Year’s Day.
The new rules, part of the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act., 2015 which went into effect September 1, 2015, requires motorists at school crossings or pedestrian crossovers to stop and yield the entire roadway to those crossing until they are completely off the road.
Pedestrian crossovers are marked with specific signs, pavement markings, and lights.
Previously, drivers were able to proceed once the crossing guard or person(s) crossing or were no longer in the driver’s half of the road.
The new rules do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present, said a release from the Ministry of Transportation.
(Photo: Matthew Trevithick / File)