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Essex County reminds motorists to take extra precautions when winter conditions hit

Posted on Friday January 18, 2019

Essex County road crews are gearing up for what is forecast to be the first significant snowstorm of the season and asking motorists to be patient and alert. 

It’s never safe to pass a snow removal vehicle. Snow plows are extra wide and create clouds of snow, which reduces visibility for trailing vehicles. It is best to wait for the plow to pull over before passing. As well, it is important to keep parked vehicles off roadways so the plows can do their job.

Motorists are also urged to adjust their driving habits when the cold and snowy weather hits. Snow and ice on roadways can reduce tire traction. Vehicle exhaust and ice fog can reduce visibility.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Essex County, warning of “snow and very cold temperatures” this weekend. The snow is expected to start late Friday and continue into Saturday evening. Snowfall amounts could reach as much as 15 cm near Lake Erie. Wind chill values approaching minus 30 are possible overnight Sunday.

“Accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations,” said Environment Canada. “Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery.”

County Crews apply a salt-brine solution to the roadway ahead of snowfalls, which helps prevent snow and ice accumulation, and they pre-wet the salt, which makes it work faster and at lower temperatures. The plows get to work when the snow starts to fall.

The County maintains 18 salt/plow routes and is responsible for maintaining more than 1,500 km of roadway, including 87 bridges. Crews maintain a 24-Hour weather watch, including road patrols, and are dispatched from four permanent depots and one seasonal depot spaced strategically across the county.