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How does the Ministry of Transportation handle Winter?

This winter has not been kind to drivers or roadways. With subzero temperatures, it has particularly difficult to keep the roads safe and clear from snow and ice. 

The deep chill is giving drivers and those responsible for maintaining road safety a difficult time.   

The subarctic temperatures are making it difficult to apply salt to the roads and for salt to effectively melt ice and make roads safe.  In the wrong temperature, applying salt to pavement is hazardous.  By the time the salt combines with the snow and causes the snow or ice to melt, the mixture refreezes or creates a build up of slush, creating dangerous road conditions. 

According to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), when the temperature outside reaches -10 degrees Celsius, it becomes it is a risk to apply salt to the roads. As the ice melts as a result of salt and creates more water, it will quickly refreeze due to cold temperatures. 

Road salt generally works poorly when temperatures drop below -12 degrees Celsius. When temperatures are this slow, the MTO authorizes the use of sand to assist with vehicle traction. 

In inclement weather, the onus is on both drivers and road authorities to keep our roads safe. 

The MTO’s winter maintenance services are provided by contractors, responsible for providing services within a reasonable timeframe. During a typical storm, crews are responsible for clearing snow once there has been an accumulation of 2 cm of snow or slush. As the storm continues, crews will continue to plow and salt the roads. 

Unpredictable weather conditions place extra demands on both the vehicle and driver. 

It is important to remember that the OPP may decide to close highways during extreme weather conditions for safety reasons. To check for road closures, go to

Drivers have to exercise caution when driving and practice safe driving habits including keeping a safe distance from vehicles ahead of them. 

Road authorities have to keep roads clear and find a safe alternative to salt in order to keep roads safe. 

The Ministry of Transportation provides regional road conditions report so that motorists can be aware of road conditions in advance of heading out on the road. The reports provide specific reports with respect to major highways and visibility. The MTO site also provides information about road closures and winter driving. 

The MTO provides the following recommendations for safe driving during stormy weather: 

  • Turn on your vehicle’s full lighting system during times of poor visibility;
  • Leave enough space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to minimize snow and slush spray;
  • Leave room for snow plows and do not pass a snow plow;
  • Take flashing lights seriously- allow emergency vehicles room to pass and get to their destination. 


Motor vehicle accidents can cause serious injuries including traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, fractures, broken bones, spinal cord injuries and psychological injuries. 

If you have been injured as the result of a motor vehicle accident, it is important that you contact the experienced Windsor personal injury lawyers at Paciocco & Mellow at (519) 915-SORE (7673). We can provide you with a free, no obligation initial consultation.  

We understand that you may feel overwhelmed as a result of your accident and during the legal process and we strive to provide the best service possible and to help our clients in any way that we can, be it a referral to a specialist, rehabilitation provider, help securing a litigation loan or providing reassurance. 

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow aims to help provide you with Peace of Mind at a Difficult Time.