While winter weather can be unpredictable, there are ways toprepare for the challenges of winter driving. “Road safety is important all year round, with additionalchallenges during the winter months,” said Ron Russell, Ministerof Transportation and Public Works. “Throughout the winterseason, crews are often working in difficult conditions to makethe roads safe. We’re asking motorists to adjust their driving tothe conditions.” To advise drivers of road conditions, the province’s winter roadreport, or SNOW line, provides updates three times a day, sevendays a week, in winter. Additional reports may be issued fromtime to time to reflect severely worsening driving conditions. To reach the SNOW line, call toll free 1-800-307-SNOW (7669) or424-3933 in Halifax Regional Municipality. The service is alsoavailable on the Internet atwww.gov.ns.ca/tran/winter/roadconditions.asp . The winter road report can also be heard daily in the Halifax andDartmouth area on 97.9 FM radio. Drivers must also remember to share the road with snowplows whenthey’re out during a storm. Plows must travel at slower speedsthan regular traffic. It’s important for motorists to slow downso that operators have room to do their jobs properly. Passing aplow can be very dangerous, since it is difficult to see aroundthem. Drivers are asked to be patient and wait for the plow topull over. “One of the most stressful parts of the job for snowplow driversis trying to guess what other drivers are going to do,” said JimFurlong, manager of occupational health and safety for thedepartment. “Plow drivers never know if a driver is going to tryto pass them, pull out or just pull over. It’s important for alldrivers to understand the dangers of winter driving and to drivesafely in winter conditions.” The department’s highway camera website is another useful tooldrivers can use to check road conditions. This website, atwww.gov.ns.ca/tran/cameras/camera.asp , shows images of NovaScotia’s highways during daylight hours at 21 locations in theprovince. The images are not meant to replace official weatherand highway report information, but are provided as an additionalsource of information to the travelling public. The Department of Transportation and Public Works also offers thefollowing safety tips for motorists during the winter season: Prepare your vehicle for winter travel: check tires; wipers; washer fluid level; antifreeze; and heater/defroster. Keep your gas tank well fuelled — at least half-full — to prevent freeze-ups in your gas line. Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle, as well as other items like a shovel, blanket, flashlight, sand, and extra clothing. Check weather and travel conditions before heading out. Plan your travel route and let someone know where you’re going. Leave in plenty of time to reach your destination. Clear all snow off your vehicle. Watch for black ice, it can form any time the temperature dips below five degrees Celsius. Remember that bridge decks freeze before adjacent roadways. Stay clear of snowplows. Pass only when safe. Allow for longer braking distances. If possible, avoid driving during a storm. The province is responsible for 23,000 kilometres of roads andhighways, and spends between $36 million and $40 million a yearon snow and ice removal. More than 400 plows — includinggraders, trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles — are used forwinter maintenance.
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- Reminders for Safe Winter Driving