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Pedestrian safety

Remember to “Walk like your life depends on it!” and be aware of your surroundings.

The City of Ottawa has an extensive program to make streets safer for pedestrians that includes measures such as:

Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS)

Accessible pedestrian signals (APS), formerly known as audible pedestrian signals, are devices that use audible, tactile, vibrotactile and visible methods to provide information that is accessible to all pedestrians, including people who are blind, visually impaired or deaf-blind.

Pedestrian Countdown Signal

The pedestrian countdown signal during the flashing “Don’t Walk” interval offers pedestrians more information on how much time they have to safely cross the intersection. Research has shown that countdown signals lead to fewer pedestrian-car collisions at intersections by providing pedestrians clearer information on when the lights will change. The installation of the pedestrian countdown signal will be done when a new traffic control signal or pedestrian signal is being installed, when an existing traffic control signal or pedestrian signal is being rebuilt as part of a road construction project, or through the Pedestrian Countdown Signal Installation Program. There are currently over 850 intersections across the city equipped with pedestrian countdown signals.

The Pedestrian Plan

The City produces a comprehensive Pedestrian Plan as part of the Transportation Master Plan to better integrate pedestrian travel into the transportation system.

School Zone Traffic Safety Program

Many children are walking and biking to school on our roads. However, younger children often lack the skills to negotiate traffic safely. Help them to walk - safely to school - by stressing important safety rules.

Pedestrian Crossovers

Pedestrian Crossover sign

What is a Pedestrian Crossover?

Pedestrian Crossovers are designated areas that allow pedestrians to safely cross the road, where vehicles must yield to pedestrians when crossing. Pedestrian Crossovers are identified by specific signs and pavement markings. In some cases, but not always, they may also have pedestrian activated flashing beacons.

At Pedestrian Crossovers equipped with flashing beacons, pedestrians may push a button to make the beacon flash to enhance driver’s awareness that they will be crossing.  

It is the responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians to understand and follow the rules at Pedestrian Crossovers.

Infographic – all road users

Audio: Upbeat music plays in the background throughout the video.
Visual: A pedestrian crossing sign in front of a cityscape. The City of Ottawa logo is in the bottom right corner throughout the video.
Text on pedestrian crossing sign: Stop for pedestrians.
Visual: Scene change. White text on the left of the screen and a pedestrian crossing sign on the right of the screen. The background is black.
Text on screen: You’ll find pedestrian crossovers on low speed roads with clear signs and road markings.
Visual: Scene change. The road paint for a pedestrian crossing on a black background.
Visual: Scene change. The road paint for a yield line on a black background.
Visual: Scene change. A pedestrian crossover with yield line road markings and a pedestrian crossing sign. A car yields to a pedestrian using the crosswalk.
Visual: Scene change. Text on screen.
Text on screen: Drivers and cyclists.
Visual: Scene change. Text on screen on the right and a pedestrian crossing sign on the left.
Text on screen: When you see this sign:
Visual: A pedestrian crossing sign.
Visual: Scene change. Black text on a white background.
Text on screen: Stop if pedestrians are waiting to cross.
Visual: Scene change. A cyclist and driver in a car side by side.
Visual: Scene change. White text in a black circle. The word “fully” is underlined.
Text on screen: And wait until they have fully crossed the road before driving through.
Visual: Pedestrian standing at a crosswalk with a pedestrian crossing sign. Text above the visual.
Text above the visual: Pedestrians have the right of way at all times at crossovers.
Visual: Pedestrian crosses the crosswalk and puts on sunglasses. The screen zooms in to reveal text on the sunglasses’ lens.
Text on the sunglasses’ lens: But it’s always safe to make eye contact with drivers and cyclists.
Visual: Scene change. A driver and a cyclist in a car side by side wearing sunglasses.
Audio: A squeaking noise is made when the driver adjusts their sunglasses.
Text on screen: Remember.
Visual: A yield line road marking is displayed with text underneath.
Text on screen: Watch for pedestrian crossover signs and road markings.
Visual: Scene change. Image of a pedestrian which transitions into an image of a driver in a car.
Text on screen: When you drive up to a crossover, stop for pedestrians, and wait until pedestrians have fully crossed before driving forward.
Visual: A white City of Ottawa logo is displayed on a black background. The logo fades out.
Audio: Upbeat music fades out as the video ends.
End of “Pedestrian crossovers in Ottawa” transcript.

Pedestrian Crossover Locations

Pedestrian Crossovers will be installed on low speed, low to medium volume roads, and at most roundabouts.

Existing locations are available on open data in both a list and map format.

Responsibilities of Pedestrians

  • Make an indication that you want to cross and ensure drivers see you before you cross. 
  • Cross only when traffic has come to a complete stop and it is safe to do so.
  • Refer to “Roundabouts and Median Divided Roads” Section below for more details at these locations.

Infographic – pedestrians and cyclists 

Responsibilities of Drivers

  • Watch for and prepare to stop at Pedestrian Crossovers.
  • Wait until the pedestrian has completely crossed the road (curb to curb) before proceeding.
  • Vehicles must not pass any other vehicle within 30 metres prior to a Pedestrian Crossover.
  • Refer to “Roundabouts and Median Divided Roads” Section below for more details at these locations.

Infographic – drivers and cyclists 

Responsibilities of Cyclists

  •  When operating as a motor vehicle, cyclists will face the same responsibilities and fines as drivers – the new law requires cyclists to stop and yield the whole roadway to  pedestrians.
  •  When crossing with pedestrians, follow rules for pedestrians: dismount and walk your bike across the road.
  • Refer to “Roundabouts and Median Divided Roads” Section below for more details at these locations.

Infographic – drivers and cyclists 
Infographic – pedestrians and cyclists 

Roundabouts and Median Divided Roads

Pedestrian Crossovers have been installed at most roundabouts in Ottawa. Where the PXO sign is installed, pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles.

At roundabouts and roads with center medians, marked pedestrian crossovers are treated as two stage crossings with the median or splitter island providing a pedestrian refuge. For vehicles passing through a Pedestrian Crossover at these locations the driver may proceed once the pedestrian has fully crossed their lane of traffic (i.e. curb to median). They do not have to wait for the pedestrian to cross the whole roadway.

Infographic – roundabout

Audio: Dance music plays in the background throughout the video.
Visual: A broken white road line and a solid orange road line are positioned horizontally at the bottom of the screen. The background is dark grey. A green and blue letter “O” from the City of Ottawa is in the bottom right corner throughout the video. Image of a roundabout approaching sign rises from the bottom right of the screen.
Description of a roundabout approaching sign: A yellow diamond with three black arrows pointing in a counter-clockwise circle.
Text on screen: How to use a roundabout.
Audio: How to use a roundabout.
Visual: Scene change. The roundabout approaching sign moves to the left of the screen. Text enters the screen from the right side.
Text on screen: A roundabout, 1. Improves traffic flow, 2. Minimizes congestion, 3. Increases safety.
Audio: A roundabout is a circular one-way intersection that improves traffic flow, minimizes traffic congestion and increases safety.
Visual: Scene change. The roundabout approaching sign and text are replaced with a horizontal two-way street. A white car slows to a stop at a pedestrian crossing.
Audio: When approaching a roundabout, slow down and watch for signs.
Visual: Scene change. The two-way street is replaced with three signs. From left to right: a yield sign, a lane marking sign for a roundabout, and a pedestrian crossing sign.
Text on pedestrian crossing sign: Stop for pedestrians.
Visual: Scene change. The pedestrian crossing sign moves to the centre and is the only sign on the screen.
Audio: Pedestrians always have the right of way at pedestrian crossovers, yield to them when entering and exiting a roundabout.
Visual: Scene change. A single-lane roundabout is displayed. A car that is about to enter the roundabout yields at a yield sign to a car that is already driving in the roundabout. A red arrow points from the yielding car to the car that is already in the roundabout.
Audio: When entering a roundabout, yield to all lands of traffic on the inside.
Visual: The red arrow and yield sign disappear. A new green arrow starts at the yielding car and displays the counter-clockwise direction of traffic in a roundabout.
Audio: Maintain your speed and travel in a counter-clockwise direction. Stay in your designated lane.
Visual: Scene change to a single-lane roundabout with yield signs on the right side of each of the four entrances. The roundabout entrances are positioned at the top, right, bottom, and left directions. Each entrance has a pedestrian crossover with pedestrian signs posted on either side of the pedestrian crossover. One pedestrian is standing at the splitter island of the bottom pedestrian crossover and another pedestrian is standing at the splitter island of the top pedestrian crossover. A splitter island is located in the centre of some pedestrian crossovers, in between bi-directional traffic lanes, where pedestrians can wait before continuing to cross.
Audio: In a single-lane roundabout, enter when the way is clear.
Visual: A red car drives up to the bottom roundabout entrance and stops before the pedestrian crossover. The pedestrian crosses the pedestrian crossover. Then, the car drives across the pedestrian crossover and yields to an oncoming green car that is already in the roundabout. The green car turns on its right signal after it passes the bottom entrance and leaves the roundabout at the right exit. The red car enters the roundabout, after the green car has passed, and turns on its right signal after passing the right exit.
Audio: And signal right when exiting.
Visual: The red car turns to leave the roundabout at the top exit. While still inside the roundabout, the red car stops for a pedestrian at a pedestrian crossover. After the pedestrian has crossed, the red car drives through the pedestrian crossing and exits the roundabout.
Visual: Scene change. A multi-lane roundabout with yield signs on the right side of each of the four entrances. The roundabout entrances are positioned at the top, right, bottom, and left directions. Each entrance has a pedestrian crossover with pedestrian signs posted on either side of the pedestrian crossover. Lane marking signs are posted on the right side of the right and left entrances.
Audio: Some multi-lane roundabouts are different, watch for lane usage signs and position appropriately before entering.
Visual: A blue car enters the roundabout through the bottom entrance. A green arrow displays the path of the car by pointing from the bottom entrance to the right exit. The blue car turns on its right turn signal and exits the roundabout through the right exit.
Audio: When turning right, enter and exit from the right lane and maintain your right turn signal throughout the turn.
Visual: Scene change. The same multi-lane roundabout is displayed. There is one orange car and one pink car beside each other in the bottom entrance of the multi-lane roundabout. One green arrow per car indicates that, to go straight through a roundabout, the cars would stay the in the same lane until they leave at the top exit.
Audio: When travelling straight, enter the left or right lane. Stay in your designated lane until you are ready to exit. Signal right when exiting.
Visual: The orange and pink cars stay in their lanes and go straight through the roundabout. Both cars signal right once they have passed the right exit and leave the roundabout through the top exit.
Visual: Scene change. The same multi-lane roundabout is displayed. A grey car is in the bottom entrance of the roundabout. A green arrow indicates that, to turn left in a roundabout, the car must enter and stay in the left lane until it exits through the left exit.
Audio: When turning left, enter from the left lane and maintain your left turn signal throughout the turn. Travel in the inner left lane and signal right when exiting.
Visual: The grey car signals left and stays in the left lane while driving through the roundabout. The car signals right once it has passed the top exit and leaves the roundabout through the left exit.
Visual: Scene change. The same multi-lane roundabout is displayed. A yellow car is in the bottom entrance of the roundabout. A green arrow indicates that, to make a U-turn in a roundabout, the car must enter and stay in the left lane until it exits the roundabout.
Audio: When performing a U-turn, enter from the left lane and maintain your left turn signal throughout the circle. Signal right when exiting.
Visual: The yellow car signals left and drives through the roundabout while staying in the left lane. Once it passes the left exit, the car signals right and leaves the roundabout at the bottom exit.
Visual: Scene change. Text is played on the left and a lane marking sign is displayed on the right.
Text on screen: Slow down and watch for signs.
Audio: Remember. Slow down and watch for signs.
Visual: Scene change. A road is displayed on the left and text is displayed on the right.
Text on screen: Choose your lane and signal.
Audio: Choose your lane and signal.
Visual: Scene change. Text is displayed on the left and a pedestrian crossing sign is displayed on the right.
Text on screen: Yield to pedestrians at pedestrian crossovers.
Text on pedestrian crossing sign: Stop for pedestrians.
Audio: Yield to pedestrians at pedestrian crossovers.
Visual: Scene change. A yield sign is displayed with text underneath it.
Text on screen: Yield to traffic in the roundabout.
Audio: Yield to traffic in the roundabout.
Visual: Scene change. A roundabout approaching sign with text above it.
Text on screen: Enter when it’s safe.
Audio: Enter when it’s safe.
Visual: Scene change. Text is displayed on the left side of the screen and a curved green arrow that starts at the bottom of the screen and points towards the top of the screen is displayed on the right side of the screen.
Text on screen: Stay in your lane until your exit.
Audio: Stay in your lane until your exit.
Visual: Scene change. Text is displayed on the left side of the screen and a white car that is signalling right is displayed on the right side of the screen.
Text on screen: And signal right when exiting.
Audio: And signal right when exiting.
Visual: Scene change. A green and blue City of Ottawa logo is displayed on a white background. The City of Ottawa logo fades into the white background.
Audio: Dance music fades out as the video ends.
End of “How to use a roundabout” transcript.
Audio: Dance music plays in the background throughout the video.
Visual: From right to left, grey cyclist symbol, yellow roundabout approaching sign, grey pedestrian symbol. A green and blue letter “O” from the City of Ottawa logo is in the bottom right corner throughout the video.
Audio: How do you use a roundabout as a cyclist and pedestrian?
Visual: Scene change. A multi-lane roundabout with yield signs on the right side of each of the four entrances. The roundabout entrances are positioned at the top, right, bottom, and left directions. Each entrance has a pedestrian crossover with pedestrian signs posted on either side of the pedestrian crossover. Lane marking signs are posted on the right side of the top, right, and left entrances.
Audio: Cyclists that travel in roundabouts follow the same rules as motorists. Pick the appropriate lane, merge and ride in the middle. Avoid hugging the curb and always use hand signals to show your intent.
Visual: Scene change. A cyclist enters the multi-lane roundabout in the left lane of the bottom entrance. The cyclist makes a left turn signal with their hand and stays in the same lane while they are in the roundabout. The cyclist stops at a pedestrian crossing while inside the roundabout at the left exit, allows the pedestrian to use the crossing, and then continues over the pedestrian crossing to complete the exit.
Audio: Cyclists can also dismount their bikes and travel as pedestrians. As a pedestrian, the safest way to cross is to create eye contact with the driver or cyclist before crossing.
Visual: Scene change. The left entrance of the roundabout is displayed. A pedestrian is standing on the splitter island of the pedestrian crossover. A splitter island is located in the centre of some pedestrian crossovers, in between bi-directional traffic lanes, where pedestrians can wait before continuing to cross. A cyclist, who has dismounted their bike is standing at the shoulder curb of the crossover. A shoulder curb is adjacent to a road or pedestrian crossover where pedestrians and cyclists can wait before proceeding to cross. A grey car and a cyclist on the road stop before the pedestrian crossover. A green double-ended arrow points between the cyclist and the front of the car, to indicate eye contact. Another green double-ended arrow between the pedestrian and the front of the car, to indicate eye contact. Both green arrows disappear, and the pedestrian and cyclist cross the pedestrian crossover. Once the pedestrian and cyclist are done crossing, the car and the cyclist on the road enter the roundabout.
Audio: Pedestrians always have the right of way at signed pedestrian crossovers.
Visual: Scene change. A pedestrian crossing sign is displayed.
Text on pedestrian crossing sign: Stop for pedestrians.
Audio: Some signs even have flashing beacons for additional warning to draw the driver’s attention.
Visual: Scene change. A pedestrian crossing sign is displayed with two alternating flashing lights on the top.
Text on pedestrian crossing sign: Stop for pedestrians.
Audio: Press the button to activate the flasher, then create eye contact with the driver or cyclist before crossing.
Visual: The perspective is lowered to display the button on the pole of the pedestrian crossing sign. A green arrow points toward the button and then a hand presses the button.
Visual: Scene change. The right entrance of a roundabout is displayed. A pedestrian is standing at a shoulder curb and a cyclist, who dismounted their bike, is standing on the splitter island of the pedestrian crossover. Both the cyclist and pedestrian are facing the bottom of the screen. A different cyclist on the road, who is entering the roundabout, stops for the pedestrian on the shoulder curb. An orange car, that is exiting the roundabout, stops for the cyclist on the splitter island.
Audio: Drivers must always yield to pedestrians at crossovers even if the flashing beacon has not been activated. Wait until they have fully crossed to the splitter island or shoulder curb before advancing.
Visual: A green arrow points from the cyclist at the splitter island to a green circle on the shoulder curb, indicated their direction of travel. Another green arrow points from the pedestrian at the shoulder curb to a green circle on the splitter island, indicating their direction of travel.
Visual: Scene change. A green and blue City of Ottawa logo is displayed on a white background. The City of Ottawa logo fades into the white background.
Audio: Dance music fades out as the video ends.
End of “Using a roundabout as a cyclist and pedestrian” transcript.

Pedestrian Crossover VS Pedestrian Crosswalk

Pedestrian Crossovers are a type of traffic control, which are devices that regulate the movement of traffic. Other traffic control types include Stop signs, Yield signs and traffic control signals. All types of traffic controls have legal requirements for road users and are identified in the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. Where there is such a traffic control device, the term crosswalk refers to the painted markings on the road. It is typical for all controlled crossings to have a crosswalk. Forms of crosswalks are typically found at intersections, midblock locations, roundabouts and channelized right turns.

Fines

Drivers and cyclists will be fined up to $1000 with 4 demerit points for failing to yield for pedestrians at pedestrian crossovers.

Cyclists can be fined $85 for failing to dismount and walk their bicycle when crossing a pedestrian crossover.

Pedestrians can be fine $35 for leaving the curb or other place of safety at a pedestrian crossover and walking, running or moving into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impracticable for the driver of the vehicle to stop safely.

The History of Pedestrian Crossovers in Ottawa

Pedestrian Crossovers have a local history dating back to the early 1960s when a large number were installed across the greater Ottawa area. There are several types of crossovers which are identified as Type 1 or Type 2 crossovers. Type 1 was used in Ottawa dating back to early 1960s. This type is distinguished by the side mounted signs, overhead signs on wires and flashers. It is the most complex and was used at multi-lane crossings with higher speeds and traffic volumes.

These treatments provided a solution to pedestrian needs for a number of years, but were questioned in terms of safety in the 1970s; as a result, in the mid-1980’s, it was decided by Council that mid-block traffic control signals should be used in place of Pedestrian Crossovers and that Pedestrian Crossovers would no longer be implemented. At this time we do not intend to install the Type 1 crossovers again in Ottawa.

When the Making Ontario's Roads Safer Act, or Bill 31, was passed in June, 2015, Type 2 crossovers were created. Pedestrian Crossovers to be installed in Ottawa beginning June 2016 fall under Type 2 designation only.

Type 2 includes three formats:

B – Distinguished by overhead signs, side mounted signs, and rapid rectangular flashing beacons. These are typically used on arterial/major collector roads with higher speeds (up to 60km/h).

C – Distinguished by side mounted signs and rapid rectangular flashing beacons. These are typically used on collector roads, or lower volume multi-lane roundabouts.

D – This type is the most basic. It includes only the side mounted signs. These are typically used on local roads, or single lane roundabouts.

New Location Requests

Pedestrian Crossovers are managed by the Public Works Department. Requests for Pedestrian Crossovers are directed to Traffic Services staff for review and consideration. The review consists of an assessment of the location through a warrant process established by the Ministry of Transportation.

Please submit requests for new Pedestrian Crossover locations, or feedback on existing locations by contacting 3-1-1 (TTY 613-580-2401).

We want to hear from you

Please provide your feedback on the Pedestrian Crossover Program by contacting 3-1-1 (TTY 613-580-2401) or pedestriancrossover@ottawa.ca

Motorcycle Safety

People who ride motorcycles are considered vulnerable road users for the following reasons:

  • Motorcyclists have on two points of contact on the road and require great skill, balance and diligence to prevent collisions. 
  • Motorcyclist are small so they are difficult to see and gauging their speed and distance

The Ottawa Safety Council offers motorcycle training for all skill levels. Visit www.ottawasafetycouncil.ca for more information.

Tips for Motorist 

  • Keep a safe distance when following a motorcycle - at least two seconds
  • Motorcycles use a full lane - treat them like other vehicles
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots frequently, especially before changing lanes -a motorcycle is small enough to be entirely hidden within your blind spot
  • Pay special attention at intersections, where almost 50% of motorcycle collisions occur

Tips for Motorcyclists

  • Keep a safe distance around you and maintain proper lane position
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots frequently - be alert for all other traffic, particularly at intersections
  • Be seen! Wear bright colours and reflective clothing, and ride with your lights on
  • Be safe! Always wear an approved motorcycle helmet and protective gear when riding

School zone traffic safety

For parents

Many children are walking and biking to school on our roads. However, younger children often lack the skills to negotiate traffic safely. Always remind your children to:

  • Walk on available sidewalks
  • Always cross at intersections

When crossing intersections without signals or crossing guards, children should:

  • Stop before stepping into road
  • Increase visibility and indicate crossing intention
  • Look in all directions
  • Listen for traffic
  • Cross only when the road is clear
  • Walk directly across road - do not run or cycle
  • Use the buddy system if possible

When crossing intersections with signals, children should:

  • Push button (where one exists)
  • Wait for pedestrian walk signal
  • Increase visibility and indicate crossing intention
  • Look and listen for traffic
  • Walk carefully, watching for turning motorists

When crossing with the assistance of adult crossing guards and student crossing patrols, children should cross under their direction.

Drivers

Back to school means more children walking and biking on our roads. Because younger children often have limited experience with traffic, and lack the skills to negotiate traffic safely, motorists need to take special care while driving. Help our children get to school safely by following these important safety rules:

  • Reduce speed in schools zones
  • Look for school zone signage
  • Be ready to stop at all times: children do not always notice oncoming traffic
  • Always try to make eye contact with children wanting to cross the road
  • Be patient and wait for children to complete their crossing before proceeding
  • Obey all yield, stop and traffic signal controls. It's the law
  • Stop when a STOP paddle is held up by a crossing guard

School zones and crossings

The City will replace existing blue-and-white school zones signage with new, highly visible, reflective yellow school zone signs. This signage serves to remind motorists of the special care they need to take while travelling through a school zone. Many of the traffic control signals in these zones are equipped with pedestrian push buttons. Follow these instructions to ensure a safe crossing:

  • Push the button
  • Wait for white walking pedestrian symbol to appear
  • Start to cross only while white walking pedestrian symbol is displayed
  • Check in all directions for oncoming traffic before stepping off the curb
  • Continue crossing if the orange hand signal begins to flash while walking; there is still enough time for you to complete a crossing to the other side at a normal walking speed
  • Yield the right of way to school children trying to cross at intersections controlled by stop signs
  • Do not creep into any intersection

Remember to never begin crossing on a flashing or solid orange hand; there may not be enough time to cross safely.

Community Safety Zone

The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) provides a municipality the authority to designate a part of a roadway under their jurisdiction as a Community Safety Zone (CSZ). As per the HTA, the official designation of a segment of roadway as a CSZ requires the enactment of a municipal by-law which includes the designated area and the erection of regulatory signs on the designated part of the roadway.

Once a CSZ is designated and established, the HTA provides that any person convicted of specific offences described in the HTA is liable to increased fines if it is committed while in a CSZ. For example, fines for speeding in a CSZ will be doubled for each kilometre-per-hour driven over the speed limit. Similarly, fines for careless driving for contraventions of other rules of the road, including traffic signal officences, will also be doubled.

Regulatory, bilingual CSZ signs are posted along the affected segments of a roadway to designate both the beginning and the end of a zone. The rules of the road do not change within the zone; only the penalties for violations are increased.

Samples of the CSZ Begins and Ends signs are shown below:

Regulatory CSZ Begins Sign
Regulatory CSZ Ends Sign

In Ottawa, Community Safety Zones are installed in proximity to school areas to enhance the safety of children walking or cycling, to and from school. Existing CSZ in Ottawa are identified in the City’s Community Safety Zone By-law.

Winter driving safety

When driving in the winter, it is a good idea to prepare an emergency car kit and to follow some basic tips.

For additional information about winter driving safety please visit: Winter Driving - Ottawa Police Service

Emergency kit

  • Cellphone
  • Phone list of friends, family, doctors, neighbours and towing companies
  • Flashlights and spare batteries
  • Candles and all-weather matches
  • Windshield scraper
  • Blankets, booster cables and road flares
  • Bag of sand
  • Shovel
  • High-energy bars
  • Extra set of boots and socks
  • First aid kit and fire extinguisher
  • Lock de-icer (put one in the car and carry one with you)
  • Neon-coloured towel or sheet that can be used to attract attention
  • Current maps

Tips

Do
  • Get weather and road condition reports.
  • Wait for the weather to improve if conditions are expected to be extreme.
  • Keep your vehicle in top mechanical condition.
  • Keep the gas tank filled. This prevents moisture and adds weight to a vehicle, making it more stable in slippery conditions.
  • Keep a bag of sand in the car, which adds weight and can be used for traction if your vehicle gets stuck.
  • When making a long trip, tell someone your itinerary, keep to the planned route, estimate your arrival time and alert a responsible person to get help if you fail to arrive within an hour of this time.
  • In distress, flash your headlights and brake lights.
  • In a snowstorm, drive in a convoy if possible and keep a good distance between vehicles and keep the wheels of your vehicle in the path of the vehicle in front of you.
  • If the car is idling, keep the window open slightly to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Take a winter/defensive driving course.
  • Take a CPR and first aid course.
  • Know how to change a tire, and check and add oil and other fluids.
  • Inspect tires and windshield wiper blades and have the exhaust system inspected once a year.
  • Look out for deer, snow plows and salt/sand trucks.
  • Clear all windows and exterior mirrors of snow and ice.
Don’t
  • Idle a vehicle in a garage or near windows and doors, as carbon monoxide can seep into the house.
  • Leave your vehicle if you are in an accident involving power lines. Do alert the local power company immediately.
  • Leave the vehicle running if you smell gas after a collision. Do notify the nearest fire department.
  • Drink and drive

Snow plow road safety tips

When the snow falls, City crews immediately start clearing the way for you. With such a large network of roads, clearing snow from City streets requires collaboration and support from staff and residents. Residents can help make the process safer for everyone. One way to help is to please slow down and let snow plow operators lead the way when you see a blue light. Below are some additional tips that you can follow to make our roads safe and clear of snow. 

  • Be patient and keep a safe distance behind working snow plows.  Snow plows often travel slowly because they are removing snow, and or spreading salt or sand on the roadway.
  • Never pass a snow plow.  Snow plows are wider than the average vehicle with large blades that extend a metre or more ahead and into the neighbouring lane. Passing a snow plow on the right could result in severe collisions. 
  • Don’t drive beside snow plows.  Snow plows sometimes shift sideways when they are plowing packed snow or drifts which could put you at risk for a collision. 
  • Move aside. Snow plows often drive along the centre line of a roadway to remove snow.  If you are approaching a snow plow from the opposite direction, shift right, if conditions allow, to ensure there is enough space for the plow to pass you safely. 
  • Beware of reduced visibility. Even at reduced plowing speeds, a light powdery snow forms a cloud in the wake of a snow plow that severely restricts a driver’s visibility.  This makes passing extremely dangerous. 
  • Do not pass between snow plows in tandem.  On multi-lane roads snow plows often work in tandem - a row of plows working side-by side.  Passing or weaving between these plows is dangerous.  Please stay well back of echelon plows. 
  • Watch for snow plows on sunny days.  Snow plows and removal equipment are out for several hours and even days after a storm clearing shoulders and cutting back snow banks.  Please be aware of plows even on clear days. 
  • Teach children to play away from the road.  The driver of a snow plow may not be able to see a child playing in the snow. 
  • Children should never build snow forts or tunnels along the roadway.  Snow forts and tunnels may collapse or be pushed down by snow plows or removal equipment. 
  • Pedestrians should ensure they are visible.  Pedestrians should move back from the road if they see or hear a snow plow approaching.