Montreal

Quebec truck driver injured after ice smashes through his windshield

Ryan Lowry was driving his semi-trailer on Highway 55 near Saint-Wenceslas when the ice split his windshield, striking him in the face alongside shards of glass.

Ryan Lowry latest in string of Canadian drivers injured by flying ice

The ice flew off a tarp on another truck and crashed through Ryan Lowry's windshield while he was driving. (Submitted by Ryan Lowry)

A Quebec truck driver is asking motorists to clear the ice off their vehicles after a chunk smashed through his windshield and hit him in the face.

Ryan Lowry was driving his semi-trailer on Highway 55 near Saint-Wenceslas when he saw the tarp on an oncoming truck get swept up in the wind, launching ice off the sheet and into the air towards him.

"I was very fortunate that I didn't lose consciousness when I was hit," Lowry told CBC's Quebec AM

Lowry said his "fairly big" truck was going 100 kilometers an hour when he was struck. Despite the blood on his face, he was able to slow the truck down and pull safely over onto the shoulder.

As he stumbled out of his vehicle, a traffic controller who happened to be driving behind him slowed traffic and rushed to his aid.

Lowry is calling on other drivers to make sure their vehicles are clear before they hit the road.

A common problem

While it's the first time he was struck in the face, Lowry said it's not the first time he's had to grapple with flying debris.

"You see it quite often ⁠— whether you're following another vehicle or car ⁠— it's either snow or ice coming off the vehicle," he said.

"It's something you learn to deal with, but it's not something we should be dealing with. It just takes minutes to clean that off, but it's on a daily basis that you see this happening."

Ryan Lowry said he was driving this "fairly large" truck on the highway, going 100 kilometres at hour, when the ice shattered his windshield. (Submitted by Ryan Lowry)

This month alone, there have been several similar incidents across the country. 

A woman in Montreal's West Island was also struck by ice when it crashed through her windshield while she was driving on the highway.

An Ottawa man who was driving with his 16-year-old son was also hit in the face by ice after it flew off a vehicle in the oncoming lane. 

A double-decker bus in Mississauga, Ont., also had its windshield smashed by flying ice, but no one was injured.

"I guess it's nice to know you're not alone," Lowry said. "But you don't really want to hear these stories … we know there's snow, we know there's ice, the least we can do is clean our vehicles off."

In 2018, the provincial government updated Quebec's Highway Safety Code to include a section on snow removal. 

According to that new regulation, "no person may drive a vehicle covered with snow, ice or any other matter that may detach from the vehicle." 

Could have been worse

Lowry suffered cuts along his face, ear, shoulder and neck from the glass, as well as significant bruising along his shoulder and chest. His cheekbone was also swollen from where the ice had collided with his face.

Ryan Lowry said his injuries were minor in comparison to what could have happened. (Submitted by Ryan Lowry)

But he said there didn't seem to be any permanent damage, something he is thankful for.

"It was very minor, but I was very fortunate nothing more happened," he said.

Although he's back on the road again, Lowry said the memory is always in the back of his mind.

"I always have to look on top now, because when that thing comes through — that's all I've been thinking about."

With files from Quebec AM

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