Winter is just around the corner, but winter parking restrictions are here until the spring thaw.
This past Sunday, Aurora’s winter parking restrictions for on-street parking went into effect. It is a fairly routine procedure, after all your cars need to be off the road to make way for snow plows, but Aurora has decided to shake things up a bit to help make merry for local kids in need this holiday season.
Aurora has launched the 2015 Toys for Ticket Program. In the spirit of the holiday season, within a two-week timeframe, every person who receives a parking ticket in Aurora for “Park anytime between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.,” can pay their fine by donating a new, unwrapped children’s toy. No gift cards will be accepted.
Toy donations will only be accepted at Aurora Town Hall until Wednesday, December 9 at 5 p.m. Toys will not be accepted after this date.
All you need to do is bring in the toy in its original packaging, the toy’s original receipt (no copies or emails) and the parking ticket itself. The value of the toy must be equal to or exceed the amount owing on the fine.
Toy donations that total the early infraction payment will be accepted only within the early payment period. Donations of more than one toy will be accepted as long as the total cost is equal to or greater than the parking fine amount.
Parking ticket recipients that donate a toy with a value less than the amount owing are required to pay the remaining balance. All toys will be donated to local toy drives.
So far, however, the snow plows haven’t had to come out but the bylaw remains in effect through April. In the meantime, it’s time to get your car winter ready.
And while recent predictions about the severity of our pending winter may be mixed, being prepared for the worst of it can ensure your car remains in peak condition and you remain safe throughout.
One of the first steps to safe winter driving is ensuring all aspects of your vehicle are prepared. While many think that may stop at getting your winter tires on, there is far more involved.
“Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your gasoline mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor problems before they become big headaches,” said Tony Molla, Vice President of communications at Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
One of the first things they recommend is reading the owner’s manual for your vehicle and following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules to ensure your car is at its peak performance levels. Making sure engine performance and driveability problems are addressed is next, followed by replacing dirty filters and changing both your oil and filter as specified in the manual.
More recently, car dealerships, mechanics and tire sales businesses have been addressing the issue of all-season tires, and some of the myths. Some have begun calling them three-season tires, as while they are functional in the winter, they do not provide the same kind of support, traction and safety as winter-specific tires, specifically in areas that receive harsher winters.
In order to help encourage drivers to put on winter tires rather than sticking with their ‘all’-seasons, most automotive insurance companies have included a discount on insurance packages for drivers.
Most dealerships or places that will change over your tires also provide options for packages to completely winter-ready your car, including rust-proofing sprays and other techniques to help protect your car from the salt and sand that hits the roads.
With the more recent harsh winters we’ve seen in the area, the importance of having both a back-up-plan and an emergency kit in the car have been realized by many.
Emergency kits can help drivers who are stranded until help arrives, and should contain essential supplies as well as items that can provide comfort and safety for all in the vehicle. Recommended items include a snow/ice scraper, shovel, sand or other traction aid, tow rope or chain, booster cables, road flares, flashlight, first aid kit, extra clothing and footwear, blankets, a candle, a small tin can, matches, non-perishable emergency food supplies and a fire extinguisher.
Utilizing free resources to help ensure a driver is aware of the best winter driving practices and strategies is also beneficial. Last year, Young Drivers of Canada released a new website designed specifically to provide information and safe driving tips for winter driving. The website was launched due to a perceived increased need for drivers to be more prepared in southern Ontario.
The website includes a variety of things such as online courses, lists of tips, video clips, and a Winter Driving Quiz to test your winter driving IQ.
It’s also important to remember that driving habits need to be changed accordingly. Abrupt accelerating, braking and going around corners too quickly can cause skidding and sliding. Remembering to keep extra space to allow time for breaking in the case of the emergency is also important for avoiding accidents.
For more information on safe winter driving, you can visit the CAA, MTO or Young Drivers Winter Driving websites.