Winter Roads Safety Information for Light Traffic

The winter road systems in Manitoba are basic access routes to remote northern communities and have no alignment standards. There are no posted speed limit signs on the land roads and the recommended speed limit for vehicles with a G.V.W. of seven tonnes or greater is 15 km/h on all ice roads. Winter roads are constructed on the natural terrain of the land and ice. They cross muskeg, rock ridges, streams, rivers and lakes. The road surface can deteriorate rapidly due to changes in the weather. The chance of an accident increases if you do not drive according to the road conditions.

  • Travel is not approved until a section officially opens. No regular inspection or maintenance is provided along the route prior to opening or after closing , increasing the potential risk to drivers.
  • The road surface is packed snow or ice and the stopping distance of all vehicles is increased. As a driver, you should be travelling at a speed that will allow you to safely slow down or stop if you come upon a hazard or approaching vehicle.
  • Winter roads are primarily used by heavy truck traffic delivering fuel, freight, groceries, machinery and building products. The contractor’s maintenance equipment is slow moving and could be met on blind corners. The season may be shortened due to weather conditions and the traffic volumes may increase. Night travel is recommended for better visibility of traffic.
  • Ice road failures, sudden storms, ground drifting and whiteout conditions preventing travel and road maintenance can occur in sub-zero temperatures. Wilderness survival training and ice road driving courses are recommended.
  • Passing or meeting other vehicles should be done with great care because swirling snow can reduce visibility.
  • The results of an unexpected delay, breakdown or accident when travelling in an isolated area can be life threatening if you are not prepared . It may take a long time for help to arrive if there is trouble. Proper clothing , personal medication, fuel to reach your destination, vehicle and survival equipment, satellite phone and CB communication are recommended for every vehicle travelling on the winter road system.
  • Prior to starting your trip you should tell a person at your destination when you expect to arrive.
  • Environmental Guidelines require road users to be responsible for their own abandoned vehicle and garbage removal.