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Not adjusting driving to the conditions main cause of crashes: OPP

Wednesday, January 29, 2014   by: Staff



ORILLIA - As Ontario continues to get battered by one of the worst winters in recent history, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner and OPP Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support (TSOS) are taking a hard line with the numerous drivers who, through poor driving behaviour, are causing a steady rash of collisions, some of which are jeopardizing the safety of OPP officers and other emergency personnel responding to collision scenes. 

Three OPP cruisers have been struck by passing motorists since Monday and two of those collisions occurred today on provincial highways.  

One OPP officer was taken to hospital after his cruiser was struck from behind while stopped behind a transport truck. 

This past weekend, eight OPP cruisers were struck by passing motorists and two police officers received minor injuries. 

“I want to make it very clear: severe weather and poor driving conditions are not the main cause in the overwhelming number of collisions we’ve seen these past several weeks.  It is the way people are driving in these conditions that jeopardizes the safety of the motoring public and our officers. This irresponsible driving behaviour must stop,” says OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.

The OPP has been inundated with calls for service during the numerous storms that have hit the province so far this winter. 

The OPP has responded to thousands of calls for service due to irresponsible driving in winter weather conditions but according to Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of TSOS, this is unacceptable.

“There is no question that our harsh winter weather has made for some very treacherous driving conditions lately but as is the case every winter, it is the drivers who do not adjust their driving to the weather and driving conditions that are usually the ones involved in the collisions,” says Blair.

“Most of the crashes being investigated by our officers involve drivers who either lost control because they did not slow down when they needed to or who ignored our warnings to avoid non-essential travel when the weather was particularly severe,” added Blair.   

According to Blair, when you get caught driving in particularly bad weather, it is not enough to keep your speed below the posted limit - you need to slow right down.  This is critical to maintaining control of your vehicle and avoiding a collision. 

Commissioner Lewis and Deputy Commissioner Blair are also stressing the importance of being highly visible while out on the road when visibility is poor and this means driving with the full set of headlights on. 

The OPP has received a number of complaints from people who continue to observe motorists driving in poor visibility with just their daytime running lights on. 

In heavy snowfall or blowing snow, these vehicles cannot be seen well by drivers and they are virtually invisible to those who approach from behind. 

The OPP is urging motorists to be prepared and pay careful attention during the winter months. 

Watch for emergency responders, slow down and move over if it is safe to do so in accordance with the law. 

Adjust your driving to the conditions and do your part to keep you, your passengers and all other road users safe.


Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
dust2 1/29/2014 7:50:01 PM Report

No mention of winter tires. This article is fine for informing people of driving more cautiously, but winter tires make an absolute massive difference. As much as safe and careful driving helps, physics doesn't change. Objects in motion stay in motion. If you have a car on black ice, or a bad patch of ice, it doesn't matter how careful you were driving, it's up to physics now. The tires are just as needed as the careful driving.
kbaybiie 1/29/2014 7:50:31 PM Report

It's funny, the fact that the contracted plows that haven't been doing they're part and being fined have nothing to do with the collision rates?

I'm sorry but there's only so much you can do when some *d*ot pulls out and cuts you off and you're on glare ice because the snow has been packed down over and over and over again instead of being removed.

It's not JUST drivers, at least the city could own up and take some of the blame right?? (NOPE of course not)
damzull1 1/29/2014 8:52:19 PM Report

well look at this way it gives the cops something to do maybe keep them out of Timmies
I'm In 1/29/2014 9:01:45 PM Report

@ damzull1 that's an intelligent comment, the police aren't allowed to sit in Timmies, they can only use the drive thru if they want a coffee and every worker in the province gets 2 coffee breaks a shift
oldawg 1/29/2014 9:10:58 PM Report

You haven't lived 'till you are stuck on the 401 in a snow storm with idiots who refuse to slow down and are driving 20 feet apart. Now throw in those insane transport drivers and see how those winter tires work out for you.
soowat 1/29/2014 9:14:46 PM Report

Bad Dawg 1/29/2014 10:00:27 PM Report

yes winter tires are "better" on the ice. The bottom line is people need to remember to drive according to conditions.
Sam C 1/29/2014 10:07:49 PM Report

kbaybiie... I wouldn't say the roads don't need plowing, but if people adjust there driving for the road conditions there would be far fewer "accidents" regardless of the condition of the road.

If the road hasn't been plowed -- slow down!
If the road is icy -- slow down!
S.M.A.R.T. 1/29/2014 10:15:40 PM Report

Hey, there are plenty of idiots to go round out there, but the fact is that the MTO and its minister chose to deny and put their heads in the sand when it was all too evident that the complaints about winter highway maintenance were, and are, very legitimate. Poor and suspicious timing on the part of O.P.P. headquarters to headline poor winter driving as the main cause of winter driving accidents when recent revelations show that this is not the case. Poor maintenance throughout the northeast on the part of at least four private contractors is at fault here, and that is a cold hard fact.
S.M.A.R.T. 1/29/2014 10:24:49 PM Report

To continue, another cold hard fact is that only fools don't use extreme caution when going past O.P.P. cruisers or other parked cars, be it summer or winter. They should think about the immorality of what they're doing and they should expect to face serious jail time if they harm or kill police officers doing their job.
bigG47 1/30/2014 12:44:29 AM Report

Nobody has mentioned the fact that very few drivers clear the snow off their head light, tail lights, mirrors, rear windows, and windshields, before driving their vehicles.
It is also against the law to drive with your licence covered with snow. I'm not talking about driving in a snowfall conditions. In the Soo it has apparently become acceptable for 9 out of 10 pickups to drive with their licence plates covered with snow, for weeks, or until the snow melts off.
The other thing that is very unsafe, is the number of vehicles, (mostly pickups), operating without daytime running lights. Are these lights being disconnected, and if so, WHY ?? They have been standard equipment on vehicles in Ontario for 20+ years. In some provinces, I believe in Nova Scotia, this is a ticketable offence. Should be here too, in my opinion
TFinn 1/30/2014 5:53:33 AM Report

bigG47 1/30/2014 12:44:29 AM

What does a snow covered licence plate have to do with idiot drivers that don't or won’t adjust their driving habits to the conditions of the roads or highways. Dumb driving habits won’t be fixed by making sure your plate is clear of snow.
dutch touch 1/30/2014 6:56:26 AM Report

For you "winter tire nuts". We had summer and we had winter tires back a bunch of years ago. We changed them to "all season".

One of you said "all truckers" are insane ( not exact quote). I agree there are some poor truck drivers , but also some really good ones

I agree summer or winter watch for cruisers on or off the side of the road .

Let's not forget people make mistakes ( accidents ).
So let's be carefull out there !!!!
Tag33&1/3rd 1/30/2014 7:02:06 AM Report

I'm getting chains!
Verbatim 1/30/2014 8:27:05 AM Report

@ IM IN.....not sure where you live but i have seen police sitting in Timmies having coffee on many occasions
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 8:49:17 AM Report

I'm just fed up with gambling on the lives of my wife & children trying to drive with other drivers who are:
-too lazy to clean off their cars & causing small white-outs behind them
-too self-centered & inconsiderate to put down their cell phones while driving

I love those drivers who are flying down a slippery residential snow-covered road, with tall banks as their eyes are down in their laps, texting away.

I've been criticized for being an overly cautious driver but there are some extreme idiots out on the roads. Let's face it, these idiot drivers are bad enough in the summer, but now that now that these additional winter factors are involved, I'm shocked there aren't more deaths.
Guess it's just a matter of time.
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 8:51:26 AM Report

For the record, I've made many mistakes on the road and am not perfect. I'm referring to those drivers who think that laws, common sense or simple courtesy shouldn't apply to them.
justsomeguy 1/30/2014 8:58:25 AM Report

@I'm in - Some cities/regions have implemented policies that cruisers are not to ever use drive-through lanes because if there's an emergency then they can be locked into a long line with people in front & behind them - it increases their response times.

Makes sense to me.
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