They don’t call it Canada the Great White North for nothing! December through to March, Toronto drivers should be ready to deal with ice and snow on the roads and adjust their driving accordingly. Black ice, poor visibility, and other weather conditions can make even the most familiar roads sites for collisions, property damage, and personal injuries.

When these accidents happen, though, Mother Nature isn’t the one who will face the fines. Instead, the law holds drivers responsible for weather-related accidents. Under Tort Law, if someone’s carelessness (i.e. careless driving) causes damage or injury to another person or their property, compensation can be granted to the victim.

So instead of driving carelessly, drive carefully this winter! Here are some ways to keep yourself and others safe, and avoid weather-related accidents and their costly aftermath:

1.     Be prepared with the right gear

Safety starts before you even start driving. Equipping your car with winter tires can be your first step to preventing a crash, and are highly recommended over all-seasons if you will be driving in the snow belt regions of Southern Ontario or the North.

Winter tires can reduce stopping distances by 7-13 m compared to all-season tires.[1] Be sure the condition of your tires are adequate, as wear and damage can reduce traction. It is also recommended to get a maintenance check-up and have sufficient washer fluid in your car’s reservoir.  

2.     Less cruise, more control

Limit your use of cruise control in the winter. Driving in wet, snowy, and/or icy conditions while in cruise control can cause your vehicle to accelerate unpredictably, which can reduce your ability to control your vehicle. Instead, control the speed and breaking of your vehicle yourself.

3.     Obey the traffic laws and the conditions

Just because the speed limit is 80 km/hr, it doesn’t mean you should be driving that fast. Drivers are expected to adjust their driving according to conditions. Despite the snow on the ground, you are still expected to stop at Stop Signs, so slow down and maintain safe stopping and following distances– which means allowing for more space than you’re used to in ideal conditions.

4.     Give yourself an extra 10 min.

If you usually leave for work at 7:00 am, make sure you are out at 6:50 am preparing your car for a winter drive. Be sure to clear the snow and ice from all your windows, lights, mirrors and roof before driving. Allow your car to warm up and wait for the ice and condensation to clear before starting your commute. And as for driving, plan ahead and expect to drive slower when the pavement is icy and visibility is low.

5.     Avoid driving

Remember: no commitment or event is more important than your health, and there is no shame in prioritizing your safety. If there is an extreme weather warning in effect or you feel uncomfortable driving because the weather outside is frightful, consider avoiding driving altogether until the warnings are lifted or you feel more confident.

Injured by a careless driver?

Careless drivers cause weather-related accidents, which can lead to life-threatening and life-changing injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured in a weather-related accident, call Zayouna Law today.

[1]  Winter driving: Be prepared be safe! [Report] Ministry of Transportation Ontario