Manitoba

Manitoba 511 - Road and Traveller Information


Winter Driving - What You Should Know

Highway Closures | Road Info | Traveller Info

Highway Closures

The RCMP assesses weather and highway conditions and makes all decisions to close any road due to unsafe conditions.  MIT works with the RCMP on road closures. Visit the Manitoba RCMP website.

Road Info

Winter Maintenance Facts

  • Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation (MIT) maintains the 19,000-kilometre provincial highway system.
  • Road conditions depend on the changing weather.  
  • About 600 staff operate out of more than 60 maintenance yards across the province and that each yard has designated highways to maintain.
  • The province has also invested more than $50 million in new equipment since 2007 to update and improve the snow plow fleet. 
  • The winter maintenance system includes 317 truck plows, sanders and graders.
  • There are service levels for various winter maintenance activities including snowplowing and ice and traction control.
  • RCMP are responsible for the decision to close a highway and work with MIT Road Info to communicate that information to the public.

Service levels
All Manitoba roads are grouped into one of the following three levels for winter operations:

Snowplowing
Plowing is scheduled based on the type of road and the level of traffic on it.



Level

Roadway Type

Service Summary

1

Major routes

travel lanes plowed within four hours after end of storm

2

Regional highway network -- surfaced

travel lanes plowed such that surface is predominantly visible within eight hours after plowing on level 2 roads begin

3

Gravel, access and service roads

roads plowed only after all other higher priority roads have been done, typically within 48 hours after the end of the storm during normal working hours

Motorists are reminded:

  • Winds can significantly delay or slow clearing operations due to drifting or blowing snow and reduced visibility for crews.
  • All maintenance equipment has flashing blue warning lights.
  • Stay well back of all equipment.
  • Always remain alert and reduce your speed when following or approaching oncoming plows.
  • Do not attempt to pass a plow in operation from behind at any time.

Ice and Traction Control
Sand and/or chemicals will be applied when needed.

Operations are scheduled based on the type of roadway and the level of traffic on it.


Level

Roadway Type

Service Summary

1

Major routes

as weather conditions permit; generally within four hours

2

Regional highway network -- surfaced

as weather conditions permit, once application begins, should receive coverage within eight hours

3

Gravel, access and service roads

when levels 1 and 2 have been completed and are treated during normal working hours

Traveller Info

Winter driving in Manitoba can be challenging. Know the weather and road conditions before heading out.

Road information is updated regularly. However, due to unexpected changes in the weather, actual road conditions may vary from the reports.  You can keep up to date by visiting the websites or following us on Twitter or calling 511.

Learn more about winter maintenance on this site and visit the driving in Manitoba page for information on drinking and driving, distracted driver, child restraints and other information related to driving in Manitoba.

These tips will help keep you safe on roads.

  • Check the weather forecast and driving conditions before travelling.
  • Delay or cancel your trip if travel is not recommended.
  • Ensure your vehicle is in good winter driving condition.
  • Completely clear all windows, mirrors and lights of snow and ice.
  • Warm up your vehicle to prevent window fogging.
  • Allow extra time for travelling.
  • Carry a winter emergency car kit.
  • If conditions worsen while driving, turn back or find a safe place to stop until the weather eases.
  • Advise people of your departure, approximate travel time and the route you are taking.

Remember:

  • It takes longer to stop on roads with slush, ice or snow.
  • Bridges and overpasses can be extremely slippery even if the rest of the road is not.
  • Compared to summer, stopping a car in winter will take:
    • twice the distance on slushy surfaces
    • three times the distance on soft or loose snow
    • four times the distance on packed snow
    • up to 12 times the distance on ice-covered surfaces

Emergency Vehicles
Did you know that in Manitoba there is legislation (The Highway Traffic Act section 109.1) that regulates that when approaching and passing stopped emergency vehicles with their emergency lights activated drivers must slow down, be cautious and pass only when safe to do so. Drivers must move out of the lane that the emergency vehicle is stopped in. On multilane highways, you must move into a lane that is not next to the stopped vehicle. There are fines and/or penalties associated with violation under the act. For details please see: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ts-sr/emer-urg-vehics-eng.htm

 

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