With snow squalls forecasted for Wellington County, here are some winter driving safety tips

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Winter is forecasted to arrive overnight, bringing along plenty of blowing snow.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a snow squall warning at 3:15pm on Nov. 18 covering Mount Forest, Arthur and north Wellington.

“Snow squalls are expected. Under the snow squall bands, [visibility] will be significantly reduced due to the heavy snow combined with blowing snow, and snow will quickly accumulate,” states the advisory.

Squalls caused by the lake effect are expected to continue into Friday in certain areas.

In northern Wellington, 20cm of snow is expected to accumulate by Friday morning, according to Environment Canada.

In southern Wellington, including Erin and Guelph, a winter weather travel advisory is in effect as of 3:22pm on Nov. 18.

Local snow squalls are also expected in those areas with snow accumulation up to 10cm possible by Friday morning.

“Snow squalls cause weather conditions to vary considerably; changes from clear skies to heavy snow within just a few kilometres are common,” the weather advisory states.

As county residents are forced to accept winter’s inevitable arrival, county emergency manager Hurania Melgar passed along some tips to the Advertiser on how to stay safe during inclement weather.

Winter driving

Before you leave:
• Check weather and road conditions;
• top-up gas (at least half full);
• replenish washer fluid;
• clear snow off entire vehicle;
• carry an updated winter emergency car kit;
• add extra blankets;
• have a first aid kit (with seat belt cutter);
• bring booster cables;
• grab a flashlight;
• have a spare jug of winter windshield washer fluid; and
• bring extra clothing, footwear and gloves.

On the road:
• ensure lights are switched on;
• slow down, leave space;
• adjust speed and driving for road conditions;
• break gently and well ahead of where you intend to stop;
• if you start skidding and wheels lock, ease off the break;
• don’t use cruise control during bad weather; and
• don’t pass snow plows, give space.

For your vehicle:
• install winter tires and wiper blades;
• change fluids to winter-rated formulas;
• have your battery tested;
• carry an ice scraper and snow brush;
• have sand on-hand or bring cat litter;
• have paper towels;
• bring an emergency food pack to last 72 hours;
• warning lights or flares are handy;
• have matches and a survival candle; and
• consider a winter maintenance package at your local auto shop.

For road closure information, the county’s Winter Call Centre can be reached 24/7 at 1-866-799-4166 and for road information from the Ministry of Transportation, dial 511 or visit: municipal511.ca.