Saturday December 24, 2011

On The Road

Winter Driving Checklist

Being ready is half the battle

Released by the TD Bank


hen the snow hits British Columbia, it seems residents are much more likely to hit the slopes than drive in it.


According to the TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll, 45% of British Columbians only drive when they need to (compared to the national average of 36%), and one quarter (25%) admit they feel anxious, scared or even panicked when they're driving in the winter.


"Winter driving can be stressful for even the most experienced driver," says Henry Blumenthal, Vice President and Chief Underwriter, TD Insurance.  "Snow on the roads means an increase in auto insurance claims, so it's important drivers educate themselves on how to stay safe on the roads this winter and make sure they have adequate insurance in the event that something unexpected happens."


Winter driving: tricks of the trade

Although most British Columbians don't enjoy driving during winter weather, they are among the most knowledgeable on how to stay safe on the roads when the thermostat drops.  The majority of B.C. residents know that:

  •  Keeping your gas tank at least half-full will add weight and traction to your vehicle (71% versus the national average of 61%)

  •  If your vehicle skids out of control on a slippery surface, you should steer in the same direction of the skid (60% versus the national average of 51%)

  •  Using cruise control in winter can be dangerous (84% versus the national average of 67%)

  •  If your vehicle gets stranded you should run the motor for shorter periods of time instead of leaving it running (83% versus the national average of 80%)

 Male versus female

Nationally, attitudes toward winter driving differ between genders.  The poll revealed Canadian women are more likely than Canadian men to avoid driving in the winter (44% versus 29% of men) and to admit they feel anxious (26% versus 10% of men) when driving during snowy months.


"Drivers who are prepared for the elements will feel more confident and better equipped to drive in all types of winter weather," says Blumenthal.  "Completing a winter driving course is not only a great way to keep safe in winter conditions, but it can also save you money on your insurance premiums."


Blumenthal provides his advice for how British Columbians can avoid unwanted insurance claims in winter:


Winter Driving Checklist


1. Be prepared


Check weather and road conditions.  If necessary try to delay your departure, or head for well-travelled roads. Have an emergency kit in your vehicle, including a snow shovel and brush, booster cables, candle and matches, blanket and cat litter (for traction).  Check out, an online resource dedicated to safe driving, which offers articles on a variety of topics related to road safety, an RSS feed with the latest news, road conditions and weather, and tips for safe driving.


2. Drive slowly and leave room


Travel at a safe pace to avoid losing control, and remember it takes longer to stop in winter weather conditions, so leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.  Canadians say their two biggest winter driving pet peeves are drivers who follow too closely behind them (37%) and people who drive too fast (29%).


3. Check your vehicle


Properly inflated, high quality winter tires will give you better traction on winter roads (and can even increase fuel efficiency!), so check tire pressure often.  It's also important to clear ice and snow from your vehicle to increase visibility.  Chunks of ice or snow blowing off a vehicle in motion can be hazardous to other drivers.


4. Speak to your insurer


Call your insurer and review your auto insurance policy so there are no surprises if you have to make a claim.


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