COVID-19 isolation could mean more vehicles, more accidents but how?

COVID-19 isolation could mean more vehicles, more accidents but how?

The motor vehicle accident season has arrived
www.kitchenertoday.com

You wouldn’t think the COVID-19 pandemic would have much of an impact on motor vehicle accidents given the stay-an-home measures being suggested across the province. However, the combination of warmer weather and loosening restrictions may have the opposite affect according to a motor vehicle accident personal injury lawyer.

“There are currently less people on the road,” suggests personal injury and disability lawyer Robert Deutschmann. “But as things open up, I think the general thought is that fewer people might want to take transit because of physical distancing. That might mean more people cycling or driving motor vehicles which means more traffic.”

Warm weather and a desire to isolate while on the road is also a catalyst for motorcycle riders to roll out their machines. Predictably, accidents involving motorcycles are already on the rise, with five motorcyclists killed in Ontario over the Victoria Day weekend. Surprisingly, the founder of Deutschmann Law says that motorcycle riders are not usually the ones to blame.

“People have the perception of motorcycle riders to be reckless, but most of them aren’t,” said Deutschmann, who’s firm has been providing personal injury law services in the area for over 25 years. “Most are middle age or upper age people who just want to enjoy the road. The problem is, much like bike riders, motorcycle riders or pedestrians, people driving cars are sometimes inattentive. Stats show almost two-thirds of accidents involving motorcycles are caused by drivers not seeing the motorcycle.”

Overall, there were more than 53,000 collisions on OPP-patrolled roads in Ontario in 2019, with Fridays remaining the deadliest day on Ontario roads as people rush home or to get away for the weekend. As a result, the number of injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents continue to climb annually, and that’s often a problem for victims who assume bringing a claim for injury is a simple process.

“Anytime you’ve been in an accident, the general advice is to call a personal injury lawyer to find out what the rules are with respect to bringing claims for any injury as a result,” suggests Deutschmann. “The truth is, however, that it’s difficult to bring a claim for injuries from a motor vehicle accident in Ontario.”

Deutschmann says Ontario law concerning accidents states a claim for pain and suffering and future care needs can only be made if a victim suffers “permanent and serious impairment of a physical or psychological nature.”  However, that definition requires some explanation.

“The key is permanent and serious,” explains Deutschmann. “What does serious mean? Generally, serious means substantially affecting your ability to work or substantially affecting your activities of daily living. Then you can bring a claim for pain and suffering and future care needs.”

Bringing a claim for income loss is not subject to a threshold, but is still difficult. However, Deutschmann suggests that no matter how minor your accident-related injury may be, it’s important to seek some legal counsel.

“If you’ve been in an accident that’s not your fault and you’re having difficulties, maybe not able to work to the same level you could before, it’s a good idea to check with a personal injury lawyer just to review what your rights are with respect to that accident,” he said.

The personal injury lawyers at Deutschmann Law operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no cost for a consultation or for legal services unless there is a settlement in your favour.

For more information, contact Deutschmann Law at 1-866-414-4874, serving Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford, Elmira, Guelph, Woodstock and surrounding areas.

This Content is made possible by our Sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

Source: www.kitchenertoday.com

Ontario: Insurance impasse puts snowmobile season on thin ice

Ontario: Insurance impasse puts snowmobile season on thin ice

The excerpted article was written by Stu Mills · CBC News

A dispute over insurance is putting the recreational snowmobile season in eastern Ontario on thin ice.

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), whose members operate and maintain thousands of kilometres of trails across the province, issues liability insurance certificates to private landowners whose property the trails cross.

But this year, some landowners in this region are refusing to renew that arrangement.

The United Counties of Prescott & Russell is one of those landowners. In a French-language interview, the municipality’s director of planning, Louis Prevost, said its lawyers have recommended against renewing the annual certificate.

According to Prevost, they’re concerned the coverage would limit civil liability in the event of an accident.

Trails closed

The imbroglio has forced the Snowmobile Club of Eastern Ontario (SCEO), an OFSC member, to close 100 kilometres of its trails, about one-quarter of its network.

“Why was it acceptable last year and not this year?” asked SCEO president Kim Melbourne. “It’s frustrating.”

The closures punch holes in the network of interconnected routes that take sledders from one end of the Prescott & Russell to the other, Melbourne said.

“Maybe the [snowmobile club] members will be happy just going around in circles, and when they get bored they’ll just turn around and go the other way,” she scoffed.

The insurance impasse means popular trails through the Larose forest, a huge wooded area in the western part of the region, is off limits, as is a former rail corridor still owned by CN, which crosses the region from the Ontario-Quebec border Ottawa’s city limits.

‘It’s dangerous’

“Right now, it’s dangerous,” said snowmobiler Sébastien Saumure, who worries the sudden trail closures will catch some by surprise.

Saumure, who lives in L’Orignal, Ont., said he’s more likely to go sledding in western Quebec where the trails remain uninterrupted.

That worries Charles Lamarche, who estimates half the wintertime customers at his bar-motel in Plantagenet, Ont., are snowmobilers.

“If there’s no snowmobile season, I really don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said in French.

Instead of enjoying their sport, Melbourne and other volunteers with the club will have to spend their time posting “Trail Closed” signs along the network. She’s imploring members to obey them.

Source: CBC News

State of emergency in St. John’s, N.L., reaches Day 5 after massive blizzard

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—It’s now Day 5 of the state of emergency in St. John’s, N.L., as cleanup continues from Friday’s massive blizzard that dumped 76 centimetres of snow in the area.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says 450 troops — including about 175 reservists — will be in Newfoundland on Tuesday to help the province dig out from the storm.

Travel remains difficult across eastern Newfoundland, and some residents are relying on each other for food.

The City of St. John’s says some stores will be allowed to reopen today to sell “basic foods.”

Most other businesses have to remain closed, with exceptions for gas stations and some pharmacies.

Stay Tuned.

 

 

Canadian Fire Crews Are Now Fighting the Australia Fires, Returning a Favour

Climate change means emergency responders need specialized, updated training according to wildfire expert

The excerpted article was written by Anne Gaviola | Vice.com

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), eight specialists left for Victoria Monday night and another 21 arrived in New South Wales—the area hardest-hit—this weekend. Each round of deployments ranges from 31 to 38 days. A total of 95 Canadians are scheduled to help crews in Australia’s Rural Fire Service, which are mostly volunteers who have been stretched by bush fires fuelled by the country’s longest and driest year ever recorded.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry spokesperson Adrienne South said in an email, “This is the first time a multi-province Canadian crew is going to Australia.”

Even though Canada hasn’t dealt with bushfires as deadly as Australia’s, Canadian wildfire experts say our experience is valuable for fighting the fires now, and also for dealing with the aftermath.

Twenty-five people have been killed as well as an estimated 480 million animals. Millions of acres have been destroyed in fires that have been raging since September and their summer has only just begun. The Insurance Council of Australia estimated that insurance claims have already reached $485 million.

According to wildfire researcher Mike Flannigan, the types of blazes they’ll be dealing with are similar to very large, high-intensity fires that Canadians have seen recently, and more frequently, in British Columbia and Alberta. “These are erratic, hard to predict and dangerous. It has climate change fingerprints all over it,” said Flannigan.

The 2016 blaze in Fort McMurray, Alberta, brought an estimated $9 billion in damages and was the costliest disaster in Canadian history. The historic wildfire seasons of 2017 and 2018 in British Columbia also saw large-scale devastation, which Australian crews helped battle. The two countries have a history of helping each other out and it helps that we have opposite seasons, though fire seasons in both countries have gotten longer in recent years.

The specialists from Canada won’t be frontline firefighters—Australia hasn’t asked us to send those, at least not yet. We’ve sent managers and people behind the scenes in charge of logistics, strategy, and tracking equipment and planes. There’s a lot more to fire response than putting out blazes and Canadian expertise can play an important role in dealing with the humans and the trauma that comes with this kind of extreme destruction.

READ MORE HERE: Canadian Fire Crews Are Now Fighting the Australia Fires, Returning a Favour

Ontario: Insurance impasse puts snowmobile season on thin ice

It’s the question asked more than any other this time of year – will we see a white Christmas?

Snow on Christmas Day? Only a few guarantees in Canada

Dr. Doug Gillham

Meteorologist

Surprisingly, for over half of Canada’s population, we’re not able to give a definitive answer about who will see snow this Christmas — even though it is just over a week away.

WHO IS GUARANTEED A WHITE CHRISTMAS?

For most places where a white Christmas is expected, we can guarantee another white Christmas this year. That includes Nunavut, the Northwest Territories & Yukon, including Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit. A white Christmas is also expected across most of the interior of central and northern B.C., central and northern Alberta (including Edmonton and Fort McMurray), central and northern Saskatchewan (including Saskatoon), most of Manitoba, most of northern Ontario (including Timmins) and the lake effect snow belt regions of central Ontario (including Muskoka), central and northern Quebec and Labrador.

SOUTH COAST OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

Historically, the south coast of B.C. has the lowest chance of seeing a white Christmas and that looks to be the case again this year. However, there will be an abundance of alpine snow during the next week, which is finally some good news for local ski areas. At this point, it looks unlikely that Vancouver or Victoria will have snow for Christmas, but one shouldn’t have to drive too far into the mountains to find snow. Also, we will continue to monitor storm tracks and temperatures later this week to see if snow levels can drop closer to sea level. The pattern immediately before Christmas hints at the potential for a Christmas miracle so we will continue to monitor this region.

SOUTHERN PRAIRIES

While the past ten days have been frigid, the snow cover is rather thin across parts of the region. This week will bring much milder weather with many places rising above freezing for a few days and little-to-no additional snow is expected between now and Christmas. Therefore, if you currently have just a few centimetres or less on the ground across southern parts of the region, you are at risk to lose your snow before Christmas.

Regina and Winnipeg look to have more than enough snow to hold onto a white Christmas. However, while Calgary has more snow on the ground, there is a higher risk for this snow to melt with temperatures rising well above freezing this week.

SOUTHERN ONTARIO

At this point, a white Christmas looks unlikely for most of the region (outside of the lake effect snow belt areas), including Windsor, Toronto, Hamilton, and Niagara. This region will see some very cold weather and some snow during the middle of this week, but much milder weather is on the way for the weekend and early next week. It is still possible that the cold weather holds on longer than expected or that we get a pre-Christmas surprise, but hope for a white Christmas is fading across this region. Of course, a milder pattern before Christmas is great news for travel and for last-minute shopping.

EASTERN ONTARIO AND SOUTHERN QUEBEC

The Ottawa area finally has a solid snow cover with some additional snow expected this week. However, we will have to closely monitor temperatures early next week. If temperatures overachieve, then the snow is at risk to melt by Christmas. Also, the snow depth decreases to the south and east and areas towards the St. Lawrence have a higher risk of losing their snow before the 25th. The Montreal area currently has bare ground but with some potential to pick-up a few centimetres this week. However, it may not be enough to survive milder weather early next week.

ATLANTIC CANADA

Most of this region (except for parts of northern New Brunswick, western Newfoundland and Labrador) has little-to-no snow on the ground as of the start of this week after record warmth and heavy rain over the weekend. However, a more wintry pattern is expected this week and several systems will impact the region between now and Christmas. A white vs. green Christmas will come down to the exact storm track of systems late this week and into early next week.

Source: Weather Network

SGI: Winter driving tips

SGI: Winter driving tips

In Saskatchewan, it is possible that you could be operating your vehicle for at least five months of the year in winter driving conditions. It is in this period, from November to March, that most collisions occur.

Snow, ice and freezing rain reduce traction. Drifting and blowing snow, fog, whiteouts, gas exhaust clouds and frosted windows may severely limit visibility.

The main cause of collisions in winter months is failing to adjust to the changing conditions.

Preparing your vehicle

Winter conditions, plus the effects of extremely low temperatures, demand that a vehicle be in top condition. For this reason, a pre-winter check is a necessity, and in the end is less annoying and less costly than battery boosts, tows and being late. Give special attention to your heater and defroster.

As well as getting a tune-up and adding antifreeze to your radiator, you would be wise to have the following:

  • snow tires
  • block heater
  • snow brush and scraper
  • gas line antifreeze
  • small snow shovel
  • set of traction mats
  • booster cables (know how to use them)

For out of town trips, add the following survival equipment:

  • extra warm clothes (include footwear, mitts and hats)
  • a supply of candles and matches
  • tow chain or rope
  • nourishing freezable food (raisins, nuts, candy)
  • sleeping bags

Preparing to see and to be seen

If you cannot see through your windows, you should not drive. If your lights and signals are to protect you, they must be visible.

Before you drive, do the following:

  • Brush the snow off your car.
  • Scrape the windshield, rear and side windows.
  • Clear your heater air intake (this is usually in front of the windshield).
  • Clean your headlights, tail lights and signal lights.
  • Be sure to clear your tissue boxes, sunglasses, papers, etc., away from defroster outlets.
  • Drive with your headlights on at all times. Even on a clear day, swirling snow makes it difficult to see and to be seen.

Driving on slippery surfaces

Winter traction problems require a number of changes from summer driving techniques. The general rule for driving on slippery conditions is drive slowly.

You should not use cruise control on icy or slippery roads. This is even more important when the road may have black ice formed on it (a thin layer of transparent ice found on the road or other paved surfaces).

Traction varies tremendously with temperature changes. Icy roads will look just the same at -2 C or -22 C, but will be far more slippery at the warmer temperature. Winter driving calls for special driving skills. This means gentle acceleration, gentle braking and small, smooth steering movements.

Reduced traction means the grip between your tires and the slippery surface is fragile.

If you accelerate hard, you go beyond the amount of traction that is available and your wheels spin. If you brake too hard and your wheels lock, you break the traction, which means that when you turn the steering wheel, the vehicle will not turn – it will continue in the direction it was going when the wheels locked.

If this occurs on ice, your stopping distance changes. In most situations, locking four wheels by pushing hard on the brakes will give you the shortest stopping distance. But on ice, especially when it’s near the freezing point or if you are driving fast, you are better off to threshold-brake by pushing on the brake up to the point just before it locks. (See Threshold braking.)

If the surface is slippery, flatten the corner or curve by positioning your vehicle in the left side of your lane prior to making your turn.

As you enter the curve, gradually steer across the lane so that as you near the mid-point of the curve the vehicle is near the right side of the lane with its wheels straight. As you exit the curve, gradually steer back across the lane towards the left side. For left curves, reverse the process. This will lessen the sideways force and reduce the chance that you will spin out. Slow entry into the curve is crucial or your vehicle may not make it around the curve.

Because there is reduced traction available for stopping and turning, reduce your speed when conditions are wet or slippery. As well, give yourself a following distance even longer than three seconds.

1. Never use cruise control when roads are wet or slippery.

How to get moving

You can usually start moving on ice or packed snow by accelerating gently. If this does not work, or if you are on a slight downgrade, try moving in second gear.

If you are stuck in deep snow, try rocking your vehicle. To do this, start forward, gently accelerate and you will move forward a little. When your wheels spin, immediately stop accelerating and hold the vehicle with the brake to stop it from rolling back. Shift to reverse, release the brake and accelerate gently. You will move back. When the wheels spin again, stop immediately. Repeat the forward-backward rocking movement, increasing the distance you move each time until you gain sufficient momentum to keep moving ahead. Be sure the wheels have stopped turning before changing gears to avoid damage to your transmission.

Search for traction. Look for sand or grit. Choose snow rather than ice. A small movement to one side will often move you from a low traction icy patch onto snow or sand. This motion can usually be completed in your lane.

How to stop on slippery surfaces

  1. Shift to neutral (or declutch) before you brake.
  2. Brake early and gently using the threshold technique. (See Threshold braking.)
  3. Again, search for the best traction and position your vehicle to take advantage of it.
  4. Allow extra space for other drivers to stop. They may not be as skilled as you, or their traction may be worse.

Temptations to resist

  1. Accelerating hard when you are passing.
  2. Using cruise control on wet or slippery roads.
  3. Forgetting that other drivers may not be making proper allowances for winter conditions.
  4. Letting your gas tank drop below half full.

Whiteouts

Whiteouts occur when the sky, horizon and ground blend into one, making it very difficult to determine your position on the road. All shadows and distinctions disappear, so that you can barely tell where the road ends and the ditch begins.

The first snowfalls

During the first few snowfalls, drive very slowly and keep a fivesecond following distance. It takes time to change from your summer driving patterns. Exaggerate your gentleness on your brake and accelerator pedals and you will stay out of the line-ups at the body shop.

Survival

Lives continue to be lost in Saskatchewan winter blizzards.

Dress warmly for long trips. Do not be deceived by the false comfort of a well-heated car and wear indoor clothes on long journeys.

Before starting a long trip, listen to weather forecasts and pay attention to storm warnings. If storms develop while you are travelling, seriously consider stopping over in a town or village, rather than continuing, when there is a possibility of being stranded.

If you are stranded:

  1. Always stay with your vehicle.
  2. Keep calm.
  3. Lower your downwind-side windows slightly and open the heater air vent to get fresh air into the vehicle.
  4. Run the engine to get some heat, and to listen to news reports, but do not run out of gas.
  5. Keep your exhaust pipe clear of ice and snow.
  6. Get into your emergency clothing before you get cold.
  7. If necessary, use candles to keep warm. Be careful not to overexert yourself by shovelling or by pushing your vehicle.

Many people die when they leave their vehicles to walk for help in a blizzard. If you stay with your vehicle, you have a better chance of surviving and are more likely to be found.

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