Storm causes havoc

First wal­lop of snow leads to dozens of crashes on area roads, high­ways

The Barrie Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - IAN MCINROY

Area mo­torists had their first spank­ing from Mother Na­ture Thurs­day night and Fri­day morn­ing, but drivers aren’t the only peo­ple af­fected by win­ter’s first wal­lop.

From 6 p.m., Thurs­day un­til 11:15 a.m., Fri­day, Bar­rie OPP in­ves­ti­gated 20 weather-re­lated col­li­sions, most of those along High­way 11 be­tween Bar­rie and Oril­lia, and 12 other snowy calls for ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to Sgt. Peter Leon.

“Thank­fully, no­body was hurt, but peo­ple were driving too fast for the road con­di­tions,” he said. “We had very icy con­di­tions as soon as the sun rose. It heated up the road sur­face, which caused the ice to form.

“Any­where there was a curve or a hill in the road, peo­ple were los­ing con­trol and struck the me­dian or left the road or struck other ve­hi­cles,” Leon added. “The mes­sage is, and has al­ways been, see the snow, go slow.”

At this time of year, mo­torists aren’t yet into their win­ter-driving mode, Leon said.

“We have to con­stantly re­mind peo­ple that just be­cause it’s sunny and the road ap­pears to be dry, or there ap­pears to be snow just on the sur­face, they need to slow down and drive to those road con­di­tions,” he said. “Fri­day morn­ing was cer­tainly an ex­am­ple of peo­ple not do­ing that and los­ing con­trol on the icy sur­face.”

Leon said one in­ci­dent on High­way 400, near Forbes Road, Fri­day morn­ing wasn’t as much about road con­di­tions as it was about aware­ness.

“A per­son who had their snow tires in­stalled on Thurs­day lost a tire, com­ing right off the ve­hi­cle,” he said. “When peo­ple are get­ting their win­ter tires changed over, they need to phys­i­cally make sure the tires’ lug nuts are on tightly and re­turn to the shop within 100 kilo­me­tres to get them re-torqued or torqued to the man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tions when they are in­stalled.”

No other ve­hi­cles were in­volved in that in­ci­dent.

“Hav­ing tires re-torqued is a small­time in­vest­ment to en­sure those tires are go­ing to be safely on that ve­hi­cle,” Leon said. “If it had hap­pened when other ve­hi­cles were in­volved we could have been deal­ing with a very dif­fer­ent dy­namic. If it hap­pened in the city of Bar­rie, the tire could’ve struck an­other ve­hi­cle or a pedes­trian.

“We’ve cer­tainly had other in­ci­dents like this in the past.”

South Sim­coe po­lice in­ves­ti­gated 17 crashes, six with mi­nor in­juries, Fri­day morn­ing.

One of the smack-ups in­cluded a col­li­sion be­tween two ve­hi­cles at County Road 27 and Brad­ford West Gwillim­bury Line 8 at ap­prox­i­mately 8:45 a.m., which left a badly dam­aged boat in the mid­dle of the road.

Charges are pend­ing in that in­ci­dent.

“Our mes­sage is sim­ple,” said South Sim­coe po­lice Staff Sgt. Steven Wil­son. “Please ad­just your driving ac­cord­ing to the road and weather con­di­tions. Al­most all of these crashes could have been pre­vented.

“Drivers need to give them­selves ex­tra time to get to their des­ti­na­tions safely,” he added. “Cars need to be warmed up, win­dows cleared of snow, ice and frost, and wind­shield fluid should be topped up.”

Po­lice say they strongly rec­om­mend snow tires.

Bar­rie po­lice also in­ves­ti­gated nu­mer­ous fender ben­ders at­trib­uted to the slippery road con­di­tions but there were no se­ri­ous in­juries. im­cin­roy@post­media.com

PAUL NOVOSAD/PHOTO

Snow squalls across the re­gion Thurs­day night and Fri­day morn­ing cre­ated dif­fi­cult driving con­di­tions in some ar­eas. This crash at High­way 27 and Brad­ford West Gwillim­bury Line 8 Fri­day morn­ing closed the high­way while South Sim­coe po­lice in­ves­ti­gated. There were no se­ri­ous in­juries and charges are pend­ing against one of the drivers.

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