Toronto snow storm caused 400 collisions in 24 hours

Published: January 31, 2019

Updated: February 28, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



Ontario has been battered by the full force of winter this week and nearly a foot of snow over 24 hours in and around Toronto has left a wide impact. Indeed, the big freeze has caused hundreds of collisions in just a day, with more likely to be reported.

However, one adjusting firm says claims activity has not increased during the period, although that may change through the end of the week.

“With that being said, within our ClaimsALERT Contact Centre, we have experienced a considerable spike in call volume as a result of previous weather conditions from Saturday, Jan 19th to Monday, Jan. 21, 2019,” said Brent Hackett, vice president of operations for Ontario with Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. “There was about a 67% increase in call volume between this period compared to the rest of January. In terms of the afternoon snowfall of January 28, 2019, we experienced a marginal increase in call volume, which seems to have tapered off.”

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was buffeted by a severe winter storm, with Environment and Climate Change Canada reporting 33.4 centimetres of snow over Monday and Tuesday. Through the 24-hour period, 300 collisions were reported in the GTA.

With roads increasingly dangerous during the storm, school buses were cancelled, and many universities and colleges closed early. The cold snap was powerful enough to leave delayed or cancelled flights at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Any hopes the weather would improve through the end of the week were quickly dashed. Forecasters are predicting a continuation of the weather and have issued a severe weather warning for the GTA region.

Temperatures plunged to -35 during the storm, resulting in numerous collisions. Toronto Police Sgt. Brett Moore said while the number is high, it is not outside possibility for a snow storm.

“Folks think that if they have snow tires and maybe a four-wheel vehicle that they can just plow through the snow and get where they need to go at normal speeds. But the problem is you are way outdriving your ability to be safe on the roads,” he said. “We have all seen that person sort of whiz by slow-moving traffic and inevitably that car spins out, backs up everybody else and it is all because the person was going way too fast for the conditions.”