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Dangerous driving: Lake effect snow results in slick road conditions across parts of southern Ontario

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Digital writers
theweathernetwork.com

Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 3:58 PM -

Drivers across southern Ontario faced a wintry blast Monday night.

Lake effect snow slowed the evening commute and several accidents were reported in places like Cambridge and London due to the slippery road conditions.

"Cold northerly winds over the open waters of the Great Lakes are resulting in snow squalls south of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay," says Environment Canada in their statement. "The snow squalls will continue today." 


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Snow squall watches and warnings were issued for communities in and around Strathroy and London, and then further east for places like Barrie, Collingwood, Innisfil and Angus.  

The poor driving conditions resulted in a number of crashes near Barrie Tuesday morning, prompting police to close the roadway in two locations.

By late afternoon, the highway was fully re-opened.

"A police officer was heard over our scanners saying, 'these cars are demolished,' Rachel Schousten, Travelers Network reporter, told The Weather Network Tuesday. "Car pool lots along the side of the highway were being used as collision report stations since the number of accidents were unmanageable."

Officials warn that visibility could drop to near zero and travel conditions will be hazardous at times throughout the day.

"Snowfall rates in the snow squalls may vary from 2 to 4 centimetres per hour, EC warns. "Under the heaviest bands, additional snowfall amounts of 15 cm or more are possible today." 

Motorists are urged to exercise caution as untreated roads become snow covered and slippery. 

"The O.P.P. is warning people to drive within their skill level as well," says Sgt. Dave Rector with the O.P.P. "If you're not comfortable driving in winter conditions then don't drive."

Rector also suggests reducing your speed as visibilities are reduced. 

"You want to make sure that you activate your hazards so that you can see and be seen by other motorists," says Rector. 

If conditions worsen, Rector suggests pulling your vehicle well off the travel portion of the roadway and wait for the storm intensity to lessen.

Is your car winter ready?

While there's a number of things you can do to get your car ready for winter driving, experts say installing winter tires should be the number one priority. 

"It's the number one thing you can do to keep yourself safe and your car on the road this winter," says Melissa Arbour with Canadian Tire. "A winter tire will stop on ice up to 50 percent shorter than an all season tire." 

Arbour adds that when temperatures dip to about 7°C, you should consider changing over to winter tires. 

"Because that's when all-season tires start to stiffen and lose their grip and winter tires start to perform better at about the 7 degree mark." 

For more on making sure your car is winter ready, check out these tips from autofile.ca.

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