Driving & Traffic

Winter Driving

As part of the City’s goal to achieve Vision Zero in Hamilton, the City is reminding residents to drive with caution, especially in winter weather.

Here are a few things you can do to keep Hamilton roads safe in winter weather conditions:

Motorists

  • Take it slow and stay in control: Winter collisions are often attributed to drivers failing to consider road conditions. In icy conditions, steer gently around corners and curves. Avoid hard braking, quick accelerations and gear changes when possible as they can cause skidding.
  • Leave extra time and space: Before departure, check estimated arrival times and allow yourself more time to get to your destination safely. Allow yourself extra space between cars, and adjust your speed based on road conditions.
  • Install winter tires: Winter tires are not only designed to perform in snowy conditions, they offer a better grip in cold conditions. Even without snow, regular tires lose their grip and can cause your car to skid in temperatures below 0 degrees. Depending on your insurance policy, you may be eligible for a discount when you install winter tires. 
  • Keep an emergency kit in the car: During winter months, keep a charged cellphone, flashlight, snow brush, warm clothes, jumper cables, shovel and traction mats in your car.
  • Share the road with snow plows: Drive slowly near working snow plows and never pass them, it’s very dangerous.
  • Plan ahead: In snowy conditions, check the City site for road closures and snow plow tracking.  In heavy snowfall or harsh winter conditions, consider waiting until the roads are clearer.

Pedestrians

  • Winter weather and limited daylight hours reduce visibility and make it harder for approaching drivers and cyclists to see you. Consider wearing bright reflective clothing at night or during periods of poor visibility.
  • Always make eye contact with approaching drivers and cyclists before crossing the road. High snowbanks can also obstruct driver and cyclist views.

Cyclists

  • To increase visibility, cyclists must use bicycle lights between the half-hour before sunset and the half-hour after sunrise. Use a white front light and a rear red light or reflector.
  • If you encounter black ice, steer straight and don’t pedal or brake as this could cause you to skid and fall.
City of Hamilton Winter Driving Poster: Take it slow in the snow