All road users are reminded that travelling on the James Bay Winter Road can be dangerous if safety precautions are not considered. The road is made from ice, so it can be very slippery. As there is not a significant amount of traffic on the road, if you are stuck, you may be stuck for awhile.
Ice Road Driving Tips for the James Bay Winter Road Travelers
- Do your part to keep our Ice Road safe for all travelers this winter and make it easier for maintenance crews to clear away snow and ice as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Plan ahead and drive according to the conditions.
- Keep your vehicles in shape for winter driving.
- Winterize your vehicles. This should include checking your spare tire, and examining the battery, belts, hoses, anti-freeze, tires, brakes, heater, defroster and windshield wipers.
- Carry an emergency road kit in your vehicle’s trunk or cargo space. Suggestions of what should be in this kit:
- a blanket
- extra clothing and footwear
- emergency non-perishable food
- a candle in a deep tin
- waterproof matches
- a first aid kit
- a flashlight with extra batteries
- a fire extinguisher
- booster cables
- an ice scraper
- a snowbrush
- paper towels or rags
- a shovel
- Clear all snow and ice completely from windows, side view mirrors, headlights, taillights and license plates.
- Buckle up and adjust your head restraints. The centre of your head restraint should be even with the top of your ears.
- Try to keep your vehicle’s fuel tank more than half full. The extra volume in the gas tank can help reduce moisture problems in your fuel system and it adds extra weight to your vehicle. A topped-up gas tank will also be an asset if you become stranded.
Don’t expect clear and dry summer highway conditions in the winter
Kimesskanemenow staff and its maintenance contractors work hard to keep the James Bay Winter Road clear and open to traffic during the winter. However, some severe storms exceed their ability to keep the winter road free of snow and ice. This may be caused by the amount of snow, timing or duration of the storm, high winds, freezing rain or a combination of all of these factors.
Drive cautiously during bad weather
- Slow down when conditions aren’t ideal. The posted speed limit is intended for ideal road conditions. Even if road signs say you may drive 50 km/h, that doesn’t mean you should when the road is icy or snow-covered.
- Unless travel is absolutely necessary, stay off the roads during major storms.
- Stay away and far back from snowplows. They will let you pass when it is safe to do so.
- Make a phone call ahead of time to let family or friends know of your expected arrival.
- Keep your headlights on all the time during a storm and don’t rely on daytime running lights. Low beams are more effective than high beams during heavy snow conditions.
- Never use cruise control on the winter road.
- When traveling on snowy roads, try driving outside of the previous tire tracks to give you some extra traction. This also helps when there are shiny ruts in the road.
- Signal well in advance of turning to give other motorists time to anticipate and react to your actions.
- Check your rear-view and side mirrors, and always shoulder check before changing lanes.
- Avoid sudden moves by anticipating turns. Abrupt changes in direction or slamming on the brakes could result in loss of control.
- On a wet or slick surface, allow yourself at least three times the normal following distance to stop.
- Know your braking system and how it reacts on ice. Always be gentle with braking pressure on slick roads.
- Avoid braking on curves by driving through them at a safe, steady speed.
- Accelerate slightly and maintain a steady speed going through the ridges.
- Take your foot off the brake if your vehicle begins to skid and steer in the direction you want to go. When the wheels regain their grip, brake firmly and smoothly.
- Traffic warning signs are there for you, please obey them.
- In the event you should come across an unmarked abandoned vehicle, please contact Kimesskanemenow at 705 336 6971 or on our toll free line at 1 877 336 6960.