Hwy. 402 in Middlesex County, February 7, 2018. Photo courtesy of Middlesex OPP.

Snowy Commute Leads To Dozens Of Crashes

Provincial police in southwestern Ontario are urging drivers to slow down after being called to over 30 collisions across the region during the snowy morning commute Wednesday.

The bulk of the crashes were reported on area 400 series highways.

“Hwy. 401 Windsor to Cambridge — it is a mess, lots of crashes on the go,” said Sergeant Dave Rektor in a Periscope video posted to Twitter around 8:30am. “Hwy. 402 [is] the same things from Sarnia to London. Problems everywhere just from people driving too fast for road and weather conditions.”

Drivers were greeted by snow covered, snow packed, and slippery roads Wednesday as a Texas Low pressure system moving south of the Lower Great Lakes arrived dumping up to 8 cm of snow. While the total snowfall amount is considered modest, driving conditions quickly became dangerous due to brief bursts of heavier snow and low visibility .

In Essex County, 17 high school students were shaken but otherwise unhurt after their school bus slid off of Concession 14, near Walker Side Rd. and crashed onto its side in the ditch. Another school bus was hit by a vehicle in the area of on Hwy. 3 and Essex County Rd. 29. No one was hurt.

A collision on Hwy. 401 at Bloomfield Rd. in Chatham shutdown all westbound lanes. Police have not said how many vehicles were involved in the crash. The westbound lanes re-opened just before 11:30am.

“This is a very widespread snow event and folks are going to have to drive slow,” said Rektor.

Those involved in minor collisions were told the wait for emergency responders would be a long one, due to the sheer volume of crashes.

“If you are involved in a crash and you’re injured, that is a priority for us so we will try to get to you as quickly as we can. If you’re not injured and it is just property damage it will be awhile before we get there,” said Rektor.

Environment Canada expects snow to taper off early Wednesday afternoon, with a slight chance of more flurries Wednesday night.