LISTEN: Traffic headaches to start the Thursday commute

Spin outs and crashes the morning after winter storm

One of many tractor trailer collisions Thursday morning
Tom Stefanac/CP24

The morning after Toronto and the GTA saw about 15 cm of snow there are still a number of problems on area roads and highways because of slushy, slippery, and icy conditions.

Many of the problems this morning are on the 401 west of Toronto in the Mississauga area created by a number of tractor-trailer crashes.

There are also spin outs across the GTA and some vehicles are still having trouble getting up steep hills.

(With files from Jessica Baker)

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  1. Boots posted on 03/13/2014 07:45 PM
    Can I just say...a few things..I hope I can fit them all. #1. Tractor Trailers are generally not at fault, there is the occasional butt head, but for the most part, consider 97,000 trucks cross the 401 everyday Cornwall->Windsor and back. So we're looking at a percentage of 2% of all accidents. Because the vehicle are so big, when something goes wrong, it generally goes wrong in a big big way.

    I drove home from Windsor on Wednesday in the middle of that snowstorm. EMPTY. It means I have very light weight on my drive tires (drive tires are were the power to move the rig is). All the other tires are donuts with brakes, save for 2 front steers.

    To understand how a truck jack-knife's you have understand physics. The inertia in the truck and trailer [1]&[2]. If the inertia of [1] drops faster than what the rig equalizes between [1] & [2]. You get a jack-knife. To put this in easier terms. The truck is going 105kmh. That means the truck goes 105 and the trailer goes 105. if I drop the truck to 90kmh in 2 seconds, the trailer is at 103kmh, now the trailer is PUSHING the truck instead of being pulled by it, that uncontrolled push, it was makes it jack knife. So when a truck is CUT off, by a car, it has the potential to jack, even on a dry road. Which is why you see trucks flip on ramps, the inertia in the trailer has pushed the truck, and the friction that keeps the wheels down, isn't sufficient.

    Speaking from days in Northern AB/BC on ice roads/logging roads. You have to find the speed where you still gain traction on ICE. When rubber meets pavement it will have a friction value "A". The engine increases the force output, directed to the tires and exceeds this friction value "A". We know there is friction because even on hot days, your tires can get HOT. Friction = HEAT. So on dry pavement you need "D" force to move the vehicle. When you lock the wheels you increase the friction value of "A" to lets say "X", This is how you get "drifting" the rear end is sliding on the pavement but the vehicles inertia is still moving it. So in essence its a control skid. The driver will use power, to pull out of it in conjunction with steering. How does this apply to ice driving? Its same thing. ICE will have a friction of lets say "B". B will have a much lower value then "A". Lets add dummy numbers. If on a dry road rubber to road has a friction of 10. Then ice on the road lets say cuts the friction to 5. Which means on a dry road to drift, the out put must be higher than 10 so probably like 30, in order to move the vehicle. ON ice, it only needs 8. What does this say, it needs a significant less amount of power output to move the vehicle on ice. Which is why when you gas it hard on ice, you go no where, but if you let the car pull away at idle, you'll be much more successful. There are situations, where that ice, will prevent movement, until some kind of grip is obtained.

    So how do I make it back to Toronto without a scratch? Easy!!!! the middle brake pedal, doesn't exist. You leave enough space, to let the vehicle inertia to gradually reduce, with very very minimal feather braking. (Feather braking, is the lightly depressing the brake in succession, and lightly, your stroking the brake pedal like a feather would stroke you, soft and easy, and relaxed). Hitting your brakes to hard will send you into an accident, ditch, jack knife etc.).

    Next you have to learn to read the road. Don't assume that is dry or wet. Feel the road underneath, how is the car behaving, you can catch a slip before it becomes to hard to correct simply by feeling the way your vehicle shifts, Pulling your foot off the gas, and not hitting the brakes, will also help to keep you on the road. You'll want your hovering over the gas to power yourself out of a skid in conjunction with steering, but at lower speeds, simply pulling your foot off, will do it naturally.

    Lastly. GET OFF THE DARN PHONE. You do not have time to texting, surfing, or talking. Driving by nature DEMANDS your FULL ATTENTION. Those 2 seconds you took to look at who that email was from, is 2 seconds that can cause you to rear-end someone, or end up in a ditch.

    Second Lastly: No one should be in such a hurry as to inconvenience others by causing an accident that slows or closes any roadway or highway. Its grossly inconsiderate.

    .....thoughts from a trucker...Be Safe Everyone.
  2. Boots posted on 03/13/2014 07:49 PM

    Last I heard the the snow removal maintenance crews had an expired contract? So they were waiting on directives from the MTO. Further, apparently we ran out of SALT a few weeks ago, hence that issue there. So really at the end of day, it should only take a phone call. In the end the road crews can't clean the road, without a verbal agreement at minimum for payment. Next in case folks have noticed, Every 3rd to 4th year, we get really walloped. This was the year, the last 2 - 3 years have been relatively a breeze in comparison to the winter that has just past.
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