Residents encouraged to drive with caution this winter
DURHAM: To support Durham Vision Zero, the Regional Municipality of Durham, Works Department would like to remind residents to drive with care when facing winter driving conditions. “The recent snowfall and cold winter conditions can make driving quite challenging,” says Eric Lamain, Manager of Maintenance Operations. “Using preventative techniques and traditional snow-clearing methods, our winter maintenance crews work hard to ensure all Regional roads are safe during winter events.” During any winter storm, Regional Works depots are activated, deploying more than 50 pieces of snow-clearing equipment. Staff are highly trained with and equipped with up-to-date technologies, trucks and winter materials including salt and salt brine. Preventative techniques are deployed throughout Durham Region, including anti-icing methods which involves applying brine to dry roads before a storm. During a winter storm, pre-wetted salt is applied to the roads – this means brine is sprayed onto the salt at the spinners. Pre-wetting helps keep salt on the road instead of bouncing off. Snowplow operators must travel at reduced speeds, so it is important for drivers to be patient and slow down when driving behind them. Although there are many mirrors to help the operator see around the vehicle, visibility is still limited, especially behind the “wing” (the flow blade that extends to the right of the vehicle). It is important that drivers do not pass a snowplow; the road is safer behind the plows. “Even with the many precautions the Region takes to ensure our roads are safe, residents still need to remember to drive safely, as driving conditions can change quickly,” says Mr. Lamain. They encourage residents to ensure they equip their vehicles for winter driving. This includes installing winter-rated tires, which can help improve safety and increase traction on slippery, snow-covered or icy roads. They also recommend keeping an emergency kit in the trunk of your vehicle with items such as blankets, a shovel, a flashlight, a flare, food and a first-aid kit. Drivers should also use a windshield-washer fluid rated for -40°C or lower. Finally, residents should be sure to check the weather forecasts and driving conditions before going out on the roads. Allow for extra driving time or wait until conditions improve. These simple precautions can help reduce winter driving risks to ensure all residents are safe on our roads this winter, in support of Durham Vision Zero initiative. Durham Vision Zero is a long-term plan to ensure a safe transportation system that sees no lives lost or serious injuries on Durham’s roadways.