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Toronto Police, CAA team up with province for safer winter driving tips

Click to play video: 'Keep your tires, vehicle winter-ready with these tips'
Keep your tires, vehicle winter-ready with these tips
You might have been putting it off, but OPP say the onset of cold weather means it’s time to get your vehicle ready for colder weather. Noor Ra’fat Ibrahim finds out how you can stay ahead of the slippery weather this season – Nov 9, 2023

As much as you’d love to put it off, authorities in Southern Ontario say the time has come to get yourself, and your vehicle, prepared for icy and dicey weather.

In the Greater Toronto Area, day-time highs have been hovering around the single digits for a week straight.

That’s a sign, says Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of OPP‘s Highway Safety Division, to get prepared.

“Very often, the first snowfall will catch you by surprise,” said Schmidt.

Click to play video: 'Toronto gears up for snowy weather, reveals winter readiness plan'
Toronto gears up for snowy weather, reveals winter readiness plan

Keeping that surprise from turning into a catastrophe, he says, starts with being proactive.

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OPP have teamed up with Toronto Police, the Ministry of Transportation, and CAA South Central Ontario to champion that same message, starting with a simple checklist: get your car battery checked, pack an emergency kit, and install winter tires.

While many drivers still argue all-season tires work just as good in the cold weather, CAA says winter tires are a worthwhile investment in your safety.

“They really do help improve your breaking distance by about 25 per cent, or two car lengths,” said Nadia Matos. “So when you’re dealing with black ice, that would make all the difference.”

In the event you’re stranded in cold weather, a warm blanket, pylons, candles and matches, and jumper cables are great to have in your emergency kit.

On Leslie St. in Toronto, an auto shop started getting calls for safety inspections and tire changes a month and a half ago.

“From now, up until mid-December, I’m booked,” said Leon Mermer, owner and operator of York Mills Automotive Centre.

Mermer says from November until January, 350 people come through each month to get their battery and brakes maintained, and snow tires installed.

“Sometimes people don’t realize their tires are worn, or even split from the side and wires are sticking out,”

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To increase the longevity of your tires, Mermer says check the tire pressure, balance, and alignment regularly, and rotate between your front and back tires at least once a year.

But road safety extends beyond your vehicle.

OPP say the cooler air serves as a reminder of safe driving habits for slippery weather.

That means giving yourself extra time, driving slower, and giving other cars more space, says Schmidt.

“Following too close is going to put you in a position where you may not have the ability to stop in a reasonable amount of time. You may not be able to stop at all,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Winter tire wisdom with Carl Nadeau'
Winter tire wisdom with Carl Nadeau

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