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Stay Safe In Snowy Situations

Back on December 8th, 2009, we posted a blog entitled “Here Comes The Snow”. Based on weather reports at the time, the Greater Toronto Area was given the impression that it was to gear up for quite the white winter. And while a snowfall did hit the GTA, the heavily-populated Southern-Ontario area has experienced a mild winter season thus far.

Well into the second week of February now, most of the ground is completely without snow. That is, until tonight, says the current weather forecast. According to, “Some snow is about to land on the GTA. Although Toronto won’t be facing a ‘snowmaggedon,’ there will be enough to shovel and cause commuter hassles.”

We suppose that we can’t do too much complaining. For the most part, Torontonians are used to having “shovel back” by this time of year. Yes, we just made up that term. You know, the lower-back soreness that comes with daily shoveling of snow from driveways and sidewalks? Well, most people around the Synergy Merchant Services offices today admitted that they have only shoveled once or twice for the season so far.

It looks like the shovels will be coming out tomorrow though. Weather reports predict that later tonight, the snowfall will begin to leave approximately seven centimetres of snow on the ground for tomorrow afternoon. More importantly than worrying about a minor case of “shovel back”, however, commuters are cautioned to be very careful on their way to work tomorrow morning.

It goes without saying that with snowfall comes more slippery road conditions. In an article on, Neil Dunlop offers up tips on how drivers can keep safe while driving their cars through the snow. He advises that driving too fast is the number one error of driving in winter conditions.

Says Dunlop, “Slippery roads make every mistake happen faster and more dramatically. And don’t think antilock brakes, stability systems or other vehicle control mechanisms will help you if you’re sliding.”

Quoting Jerry Pearl, general manager of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School at Steamboat Springs, Colorado who has been teaching people how to drive safely in the snow for 18 years, Dunlop also advises drivers to look ahead and be aware of the road ice and slippery conditions. Drivers should be leaving double the space between themselves and other cars in front of them.

Writes Dunlop: “An easy calculation for this distance is four car lengths for every 10 mph you are traveling. That means if you are doing 40 mph, you should leave 16 car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead.”

Of course, there are a number of other tips that will keep you and other drivers safe behind the wheel, but ensuring that you are mastering control of your vehicle is the main point. Go slow, be alert and stay safe. Or as Dunlop suggests, “stay home and make hot chocolate”.

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