Winter road safety

If it is snowing or has snowed, you should expect to see our equipment on the road.

The flashing amber and blue safety lighting on equipment makes it more visible. It also warns people that these vehicles are at work.

Always think safety-first when you're near heavy equipment. Crews need room to do their work. It's in everyone's best interest to Stay Back, Stay Safe.

Always remember:

  • Drive to winter conditions
  • Be patient
  • Allow additional time to get where you're going
  • Choose alternate routes where you don't see equipment working

Winter road safety tips

Follow these tips when you encounter crews working to help ensure the safety of all road users.

  1. Slow down around equipment. Stay far away.
    The recommended distance is a minimum of 15 metres (approximately three car lengths). When a spreader truck is applying salt or sand to the road surface, slow down and keep back from the truck to avoid being hit with salt or sand.
  2. Keep your headlights on.
    Snow clearing equipment often produces clouds of snow that may reduce visibility.
  3. Prepare to stop.
    Snow clearing equipment travels at much slower speeds than other vehicles. Operators stop frequently to assess their work. Freshly plowed streets can also be slippery. Drive to conditions and give yourself sufficient room to stop.
  4. Do not pass to the right of equipment.
    Snow and debris are often plowed to the right.
  5. Be cautious when approaching from behind.
    Snow clearing equipment often makes several passes over the same area. This means they often move in reverse. Vehicles travelling too close to equipment are at risk of damage or collision.
  6. Make eye contact.
    If you are unsure of what a heavy equipment operator is about to do, wait and make eye contact with the operator. They will either finish the task, or – if it is safe – stop and wave you through before continuing their work.
  7. Do not drive through windrows.
    You may get stuck in the snow and ice or scatter the snow and create a hazard for other motorists.

Additional snow safety tips

  • When possible, park vehicles off-street (in locations such as driveways and parking lots). Vehicles parked on the roadway can make our work harder.
  • Teach children to stay back from roads and sidewalks when they see plowing equipment.
  • Move portable basketball and hockey nets, skateboard ramps, and other structures away from the street. This helps plowing equipment clear the area without causing damage. •
  • Put away garbage and recycling bins in a timely manner. Store them in a location that will not interfere with snow clearing.
  • Keep privately owned trees along streets trimmed back.
  • Check the weather forecast before travelling.
  • Reduce speed. It takes longer to stop when conditions are poor.
  • Turn off your radio and heating fans when approaching railway crossings. This helps you listen for trains.
  • Look for railway warning signs and signals. Remember snow may cover train tracks at a crossing.
  • Use winter tires.
  • Leave the area of stalled or stuck vehicles. Once safe, immediately notify emergency responders by calling 911.

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