London police, OPP, CAA report spike in service calls following blast of winter weather

London police, the OPP and the CAA are urging drivers to exercise caution in winter weather conditions. Jeremy Keefe / Global News

Police are reminding motorists to drive carefully in winter conditions after an onslaught of collision-related calls over the past 24 hours.

London police, the OPP and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) are all reporting a significant uptick in calls for service.

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CAA performed 173 member rescues on Thursday, and it’s predicting another 123 on Friday.

Public relations manager Kaitlynn Furse tells 980 CFPL that CAA has noticed a particular increase in the number of battery-related calls.

“Usually, the damage to a battery will happen in the summertime, and the winter is when you’ll feel the pain so getting your battery tested in the fall before the winter is the most important time,” she said.

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Furse noted CAA tries to respond to calls in 30 minutes or less, but that time can increase in poor weather conditions.

“Yesterday, in the London area, for example, the actual average time of arrival was just over an hour so it can differ, and that’s why we always recommend for drivers, as they’re preparing for the winter months and getting their cars ready and all their maintenance checked, that they keep that emergency kit stocked up,” Furse said.

Middlesex OPP have responded to more than 40 collisions and traffic hazard events in the past 24 hours, while more than 340 collisions were reported by the OPP across southwestern Ontario.

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London police received over three times as many collision calls on Thursday as they normally get. The actual number of collisions is likely higher, with some drivers opting to visit the Police Reporting Centre rather than calling 911.

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Const. Sandasha Bough is asking drivers to get out of their summer driving mindset.

“Change that pace with respect to how you’re driving because the roadways are different,” she said. “They’re snow- and ice-covered for the most part, and you want to make sure that you have extra stopping distance if you do need to come to a stop quicker than you normally do.”

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Bough said they’re also seeing drivers who fail to clear their vehicle of snow.

“You want to make sure that you have a clear view in every direction, and it’s a really dangerous situation,” she said. “Sometimes, you don’t clear off the roof of the vehicle, and that snow falls down at the next stop that you make and covers your windshield or blows onto the vehicle behind you. It’s very dangerous, and you could receive a fine of $110.”

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