OPP report dozens of crashes in poor weather conditions

An Ontario Provincial Police cruiser. (Photo courtesy of the OPP)

West Region OPP officers responded to around 65 crashes between 6 a.m. and noon Friday due to poor weather and road conditions.

A snow squall warning was in place for areas including east and north Lambton county, with 10 to 20 centimetres of snow in the forecast.

Environment Canada said the heavy snow, combined with strong northwesterly winds, resulted in blowing snow and reduced visibility at times.

Regional Media Relations Coordinator Derek Rogers is urging residents to slow down and be extra careful.

“It’s a bit of a wakeup call for drivers that winter is coming, and it’s practically here,” said Rogers. “It’s time to really think about the behaviours that we display on the roadways in terms of responding to deteriorating conditions on the roads. By that I simply mean making sure that you adjust your speed to the weather conditions, slow down, give yourself plenty of time to stop in an emergency and lots of room between the vehicle in front of you and yourself.”

Rogers said it’s important to exercise caution when passing emergency vehicles on the side of the road.

“When we’re out there helping people who are stranded as a result of going into a ditch, our members are out there working in adverse conditions and visibility may be poor,” he said. “When you see those lights, remember to give first responders a lot of room whether it be paramedics, tow trucks or police.”

Rogers encourages everyone to have a survival kit in their vehicle, including a shovel, blankets, food, and booster cables. You should also be equipped with a full tank of gas and a fully charged cell phone.

The snow squalls are expected to weaken by early Saturday morning.