Thousands of collisions in January due to not driving to road conditions: Manitoba Public Insurance

More than 3,000 collisions this month can be attributed to motorists not driving to road conditions or following too close, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.

For the first three weeks of January, a total of 10,000 collisions were reported. Of that total, an estimated 2,000 were due to driving too fast for road conditions, while another 1,300 were due to following too close.

“Road conditions contribute to three times as many crashes in January, compared to the rest of the year,” said Satvir Jatana, Vice-President, Employee and Community Engagement, Manitoba Public Insurance. “Recently, weather and road conditions have been extremely challenging with black ice, drifting snow, poor visibility and at times freezing rain. Motorists need to adjust quickly to ever changing weather and road conditions.

“It’s at this time of year in particular that motorists need to make adjustments to avoid collisions. This includes keeping safe distances between vehicles, keeping windshields clear, watching for pedestrians and cyclists, and driving to conditions.”

On a positive note, January 2020 collision counts remain lower than January’s three-year average (2017-19) of nearly 18,000. On average, about 80 per cent of collision claims occur within Winnipeg. This is attributed to higher traffic volumes, said Jatana.

Safety tips

  • Before you head out on the highway, check for road and weather conditions by calling 511.
  • Be cautious in traveling on overpasses and bridges. The surfaces on these structures can freeze quickly due to no ground insulation.
  • Don’t rush. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination safely.
  • See where you’re going. At this time of year, keeping windshields clear is essential so make sure windshield washer fluid is topped up and windows are clear of snow and ice.
  • Allow more time to stop. Traction is reduced when roads are slippery it takes more time to come to a complete stop. If you don’t have winter tires, it’s not too late to get them.
  • Leave more space. Don’t tailgate at any time and remember that following distance should be increased when travelling at higher speeds or in poor visibility.
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