Minister of Public Works, RCMP urge NSians to be ready for winter

Minister Kim Masland and Cpl. Deepak Prasad speak with a Public Works snow plow operator after launching the province's winter preparedness campaign in Miller Lake. (Healey photo)

MILLER LAKE: As a crisp wind blew and the sign of winter was evident with winter coats aplenty, the Minister for the Department of Public Works and N.S. RCMP launched the province’s winter preparedness campaign in Miller Lake on Nov. 18.

Minister Kim Masland began her speech by praising the men and women who work tirelessly to keep Nova Scotia’s roads and highways clear when old man winter hits, bringing snow and ice with it.

“I am the proudest Minister in this province to be the Minister of this department, and I am that because of all of you,” said Masland to applause.

With temperatures dropping and wintery weather around the corner, the province advises Nova Scotians to get ready now for winter driving.

Minister Kim Masland in the cab of a snow plow. (Healey photo)

She said she experienced first hand the challenges and problems drivers of the snow plows face keeping Nova Scotians moving. In 2021, Masland had the opportunity to take a ride in one of the snow plows in Miller Lake.

“I have to say it was an eye-opening experience,” she said. “I realized how much work is involved in keeping our roads clear. There is so much to do inside that cab, and they’re doing all of this navigating in a snowstorm with very poor visibility.”

Minister Kim Masland speaks in front of a couple of the machinery used during the winter season to keep NS roads clear. (Healey photo)

Masland said she also learned of the amount of vehicles on the road in blizzard conditions.

“Being on the road during a storm when you don’t have to be out there is certainly an unnecessary risk,” said Masland. “If you can, wait out the storm at home off the roads.”

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She said if you must drive be ready.

“Get your snow tires on; have an emergency kit in your car; get your gas and fluids all topped up, plus make sure you give yourself lots of time to get to your destination,” said Masland. “Slow down and drive for the road conditions.”

Cpl. Deepak Prasad with NS RCMP. (Healey photo)

Cpl. Deepak Prasad, with N.S. RCMP, was on hand to echo Masland’s comments, and add some advice from the national police force.

He began talking about Nova Scotia’s weather.

“We know that N.S. and the Maritimes have very unpredictable weather,” he said. “Last week I was wearing shorts, and today I’m wearing long johns.”

Cpl. Prasad said he is appreciative as are officers of the efforts of snow clearing crews, who help police on many occasions get to crash scenes or emergency calls in wintry weather.

He also thanked the media for their efforts.

“You folks play an important role as well in getting the message out about dangerous road conditions,” said Cpl. Prasad.

Cpl. Prasad thinks this year’s winter season might be a bad one.

“It’s better to be prepared now since we don’t know when the snow is coming,” he said.

He had a message for employers with bad weather hitting. “Please consider releasing your employees early to go work from home or make arrangements for them to remain at home and work in stormy weather,” he said. “If you have to drive to work, please check the road and weather conditions continuously.”

Some winter driving safety tips include:
— wearing seatbelts (seatbelts are required year round)
— slowing down and leaving additional space between vehicles – it takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions
— not crowding the snowplows – maintaining a safe distance and being patient
— keeping the gas tank at least half full
— planning ahead and allowing extra time for possible delays.