GO Bus driver safely stops vehicle, after ice smashes windshield on Hwy. 401

Flying ice from vehicles not properly cleaned off can be dangerous – OPP. And here’s a good example.

A scary scene played out on one this country’s busiest highways – providing a clear example for drivers to clear their vehicles of ice and snow.

A GO bus, including passengers, travelling at highway speeds down the 401 near Meadowvale Road this morning (Jan. 21), suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, was hit with a thick chunk of ice that flew off a transport truck.

Image shows a bus with badly shattered windshield.

The broken windshield on a GO bus, after being hit by flying ice on Jan. 21, 2020. (Metrolinx photo)

The sheet did substantial damage to the front windshield of the GO bus, during the 9:25 a.m. incident.

“We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured,” said Metrolinx vice president of Bus Services, Eve Wiggins.

“The fact that our driver was able keep control of the bus on the 401 is a sign of his skill, and shows how committed all of us are to getting each and every single customer to their destinations safely.”

The flying ice instantly shattered the tempered windshield of the double-decker GO bus, making it nearly impossible to see through. Remarkably however, the driver wasn’t injured and was able to maintain control of the vehicle and steer the bus off to the side of the busy highway.

“Good on to that driver to pull that vehicle over safely,” said OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. “It’s good to see that no one was seriously injured.”

The image shows the windshield smashed in.

The view inside the GO bus. (Metrolinx photo)

This is the time of year that provincial police report seeing an increase in these types of incidents. Schmidt said with the recent thaw and subsequent deep freeze, most of that powdery snow that accumulated on vehicles earlier this week, has now turned into heavy sheets on ice.

“These sheets of ice can cause devastating injuries. We’ve seen cases where it goes right through the windshield,” Schmidt said.

In 2018, a similar incident occurred with a GO Bus that just left the Millbrook/Cavan GO carpool lot in Peterborough with a bus load of passengers. That driver was also credited with keeping everyone safe by maintaining control of the vehicle.

While it’s impossible to train for something as unexpected as ice smashing into the tempered windshield of your bus, GO drivers are highly trained and play a critical role in keeping all passengers safe.

“Our fleet of more than 500 GO Buses cover more than 50 million kilometres a year on GTHA highways, safely moving nearly 17 million people,” Wiggins said.

“Behind the wheel of each of those buses is a highly trained driver that is given specialized safety training, including a course on defensive driving techniques.”

A bus driver's seat is shown with bits of glass on it.

Glass remains on the driver’s seat. (Metrolinx photo)

GO Bus drivers are also regularly put through refresher courses and customer service training throughout their career.

Additionally, all buses used by Metrolinx are manufactured to meet, and in many areas, exceed all federal and provincial safety regulations and standards. For example, GO Transit is one of the only carriers in the country to install dual-paned windows on our buses to double the cabin’s safety.

The OPP and Metrolinx Transit Safety Officers are still investigating this particular incident, but Schmidt would like to remind drivers to clear all ice and snow off their vehicles before hitting the road.

“It is dangerous and can be deadly,” Schmidt said. “Just think about who you would want to be sharing the road with.”

Story by Matt Llewellyn, spokesperson and senior advisor, Media Relations and Issues.