Ah, a snowy Thursday in Toronto, our second such day this year, and with winter not officially here until December 21st, I always worry that even in areas where there is a lot of snow people forget to apply common sense in many different areas of their lives when snow stays on the ground.
So today is the perfect day for me, to educate you, on the 13 Things You Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.
Let’s start with #1 because it’s the most important and the City of Toronto By-Laws and Chapter 719 of the Municipal Code lay it all out there for you.
1. Make sure that you have cleared the sidewalk in front of your house! According to City By-laws you have 12 hours from the last snowflake to remove the snow and / or ice from the sidewalk in front, behind or beside your property.
2. Failure to remove snow and / or ice can result in a fine of up to $5000 under the Provincial Offences Act.
3. Anyone – strangers, neighbours, government workers, can call 311 to notify them if your snow and / or ice is not removed within 12 hours after a snowfall.
4. Thinking about clearing your snow onto the street? DON’T! Besides the obvious fact that it make driving that much more dangerous, it’s against the by-laws and you can be fined for doing this. Plus, it’s fairly obvious when your lawn (which loves the water in the spring) is flat the snow in the street in front of your house is densely packed compared to others.
5. If the City of Toronto has to send someone out to shovel or salt your sidewalk, you will be charged a fee for this “service: and if you do not pay it, it will be added to your property taxes.
6. Starting this year – 2014 – the City of Toronto is paying special attention to those mounds of snow you pile at the curb in front of your house because as the weather changes they pose a safety concern regarding visibility, and drivers trying to avoid them. Plus, by the mere fact that they are on the street means you are in violation of Section 719-5 of the Municipal Code. By-law officers might force you to remove it at your own expense or fine you.
7. Clean off your car before you drive it! All windows, the front and tail lights are essential to ensure you have complete visibility. The majority of vehicle – pedestrian accidents in the winter occur when drivers cannot fully see out of their windows and bump into people crossing the street.
8. I know it’s a pain in the butt for many of you, but you really do need to come to a full and complete stop at all traffic crossings when there is snow. Besides being the law, and potentially dangerous if you do not, by rolling through stops, or around corners you also run the risk of having to brake suddenly and sliding or spinning out of control, or worse, stopping only to have the car behind you slam into you, and then for you to hit someone as a result.
9. Signal. I prefer to refer to the turn signal as an “indicator” because while it may be law to signal before you turn, it’s nice and kind to indicate to other drivers what you intend to do with your vehicle. This is especially important if you are one of “those” drivers who do not feel the need to stop at every intersection as indicating your intentions keeps pedestrians safe and the cars around you less likely to want to roll down their windows and throw a snowball at your car.
10. Be extra courteous to those around you who are walking when you are driving. They are dealing with un-cleared sidewalks, and cold, or wind, plus heavy clothing and usually something in their hands. The LAST thing they need to do is wonder whether that car is a) going to stop, b) sees them c) start to proceed before they finish crossing the street.
- If you hired a ploughing service to clean your driveway, make sure they are not falling out of favour with your neighbours or with the City by-laws.
Think about others! If your neighbour shovels your sidewalk when it snows, it might not be a smart idea to only shovel your piece of sidewalk when you are doing yours. Even if you are in a rush, make an effort to go a little onto their side, they’ll understand. But to put up that snow barrier while their side is still covered and yours is clean is a message to that neighbour that you are only thinking about yourself. Is that what you want them thinking? I’ve always said that it is better to accept the help of your neighbour than criticize them for where they put your snow, that you should have moved!
13. Put a smile on your face and be nice to others! Say hello to neighbours, strangers and passers by.