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News Release

Durham Region residents encouraged to drive with caution this winter

WHITBY, ON November 19, 2014

WHITBY, ON – The Regional Municipality of Durham, Works Department would like to remind residents to drive with care when facing winter driving conditions.

“Cold weather has arrived, and with it comes snow and ice, which can make driving difficult and potentially hazardous,” says Kerry Brennan, acting Manager of Maintenance Operations. “Using preventative techniques and traditional snow-clearing methods, our winter maintenance crews work hard to keep Regional roads clear for motorists.”

Throughout Durham Region, roads are anti-iced, which involves applying brine to dry roads before a storm. During a storm, pre-wetted salt is applied to roads—this means brine is sprayed onto the salt at the spinners. Pre-wetting helps keep the salt on the road, instead of bouncing off.

However, even with these precautions, drivers need to remember to drive safely as conditions can change quickly, from one area to the next, during the winter months. Bridges, hills, valleys, curves and sheltered or shaded areas require extra caution when driving, as these sections of road freeze quickly and remain frozen even after temperatures rise.

Snow plow operators must travel at reduced speeds, so it is important 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 beyond the “wing” (the scoop that extends to the right of the vehicle). It is important to never pass a snow plow.

Residents are encouraged to prepare vehicles for winter driving. Start by changing to winter tires, which improve safety and increase traction on slippery, snow-covered or icy roads. Keep 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. Also, use windshield-washer fluid rated for -40°C. Finally, be sure to check the weather and driving conditions before going out on the roads. Allow for extra driving time, or wait until conditions improve, if necessary. For more winter preparedness tips, visit www.durham.ca/demo.

These simple precautions are particularly important in the northern areas of Durham Region, where freezing roads and snow may be experienced sooner than in the lakeshore communities.

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For more information, please contact Corporate Communications.