Collingwood and Blue Mountain Area Road Conditions
During the winter months, we will report on Collingwood and Blue Mountains road conditions daily. For the rest of the year, we will update only when conditions change. Regular reporting will return in late Fall.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation provides a Central Ontario road report and other useful interactive tools and information. Winter driving reports are available from the end of October to April.
Safe Winter Driving
Weather conditions can be dramatic in winter, especially in snowbelt areas where significant amounts of snow can accummulate very quickly. High winds in open areas can also cause poor visibility and make driving conditions even more treacherous. Stay alert, keeping your focus on the road and on other vehicles at all times. Eliminate all distractions. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid situations where you may have to brake suddenly on a slippery surface. Make sure you know how to handle your vehicle in all weather conditions, how it responds when you brake or when you drive over ice or snow.
It is always best to avoid driving at all in severe weather conditions. If your trip cannot be delayed, plan extra time to get to your destination. If you are travelling a long distance, plan your route ahead of time. Let someone know of your destination and expected time of arrival. Check weather and travel conditions before heading out. Don’t take chances if the weather is bad.
Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter
Get your vehicle winter-ready with a maintenance check-up. Systems that are important to check are battery, belts, hoses, radiator, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers and ignition. It is also recommended that the fuel tank be kept at least half full. Top up windsheild washer fluid in the reservoir with product that is rated minimum of -40°C temperature range. Keep an extra jug in the vehicle.
Consider using winter tires if you live or travel frequently in the snowbelt regions. The quality and condition of your tires is important for driving in winter conditions. They improve driving safety by delivering better traction, braking and handling during frost, snow, slush, and particularly under icy conditions. Installing four winter tires provides greater control and stability. Winter tires that are in good condition can shorten braking distances by as much as 25%. Remember to check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather.
It’s a good idea to keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Having essential supplies and equipment on hand to deal with the elements or to keep warm can provide some comfort and safety for you and your passengers should you become stranded. Recommended items include:
Sand or other traction aid
Tow rope or chain
Road flares or warning lights
Gas line antifreeze
Flashlight and batteries
First aid kit
Small tool kit
Extra warm and dry clothing and footwear
Non-perishable energy foods – e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water
Candle and a small tin can
Cellphone for emergency calls
Visit the Ministry of Ontario Traveller Information Service website at www.ontario.ca/511 or call “511” for provincial highway information.
Handling Your Vehicle in Winter
Weather conditions can be dramatic in winter, especially in snowbelt areas where significant amounts of snow can accummulate very quickly. High winds in open areas can also cause poor visibility and make driving conditions even more treacherous. It’s important for drivers to know how their vehicle handles in all weather conditions, how it responds when braking or when driving over ice or snow.
It takes longer to stop on a slippery road. It’s important to leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead. A guide to safe spacing under normal driving conditions is the two-second rule.
Pick a marker on the road ahead, such as a road sign or telephone pole. When the rear of the vehicle ahead passes the marker, count “one thousand and one, one thousand and two”. When the front of your vehicle reaches the marker, stop counting. If you reach the marker before you count “one thousand and two,” you are following too closely. In winter, and especially during poor weather conditions, double the two-second rule.
Snow on a road may be hard-packed and slippery as ice. It can also be rutted and full of hard tracks and gullies. Or it can be smooth and soft. Wet snow can make for slushy roads. Heavy slush can build up in the wheel wells of your vehicle and can affect your ability to steer. Remember, look far ahead as you drive so you can recognize hazards and have plenty of time to respond. Adjust your driving to the road and weather conditions. Slow down to avoid sudden turns of the steering wheel and sudden braking and accelerating, which could cause a skid. Extra caution should be exercised when driving in these road conditions.
Be careful when approaching shaded areas, bridges and overpasses, as these sections of road freeze much sooner in cold weather and stay frozen long after the sun has risen. Watch out for frost and areas of the road that appear black and shiny, as they can cause your vehicle to suddenly lose traction. Slow down, keep your foot off the brake and be ready to shift to neutral or step on the clutch as your vehicle crosses these areas.
Snow and Slush Spray
On snowy, wet and slushy roads, large trucks and buses can blow moisture onto your windshield, leading to a sudden loss of visibility. Always drive defensively and leave enough space to avoid snow spray.
It is critical for drivers to see and be seen when blowing snow and white-outs impair visibility. Whenever visibility is poor, turn on the vehicle’s full lighting system. Slow down gradually and drive at a speed that suits the conditions. Watch your speed. You may be going faster than you think. If so, reduce speed gradually. Avoid passing, changing lanes, crossing traffic and do not stop on the travelled portion of the road where another driver with impaired visibility cannot see you. Increase your following distance as you may need extra distance to brake safely. Stay alert and look far ahead, keeping your full attention on your surroundings. User the defroster and wipers to keep your windows and mirrors clean. Try to get off the road when visibility is near zero.
In An Emergency
If you become stuck or stranded in severe weather, stay with your vehicle for warmth and safety until conditions improve or help arrives. Slightly open a window for ventilation. Run your motor sparingly. Use your emergency flashers. Be careful if you have to get out of your vehicle when on the shoulder of a busy road. If possible, use the door away from traffic. Be prepared and carry a winter driving survival kit that includes items such as warm clothing, non-perishable energy foods, flashlight, shovel, blanket, etc.
Remember, dialing 911 on your cell phone will connect you with the emergency services contact centre in the area. Use 1-888-310-1122 for non-emergencies